Over 100 adolescent schoolgirls have been sensitized on maintaining good menstrual hygiene in Lagos State.
The programme, organized by the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN), Lagos State Chapter, was held at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School, Ojodu, Lagos, to commemorate the 2021 Menstrual Hygiene Day.
In her presentation titled “Menstrual Hygiene, My Reproductive Health Rights,” Dr. Ebere Azumah of Love Your Menses Inc. urged the schoolgirls to ensure that they stay clean and healthy during their monthly cycle and not allow anyone stigmatise them during the period or see the natural process as a taboo but as part of their reproductive health.
According to her, more than 800 million people worldwide menstruate, yet menstruation is still viewed as taboo and many girls and women do not have the adequate resources and support they need to live well throughout their reproductive years.
Also speaking on the topic “ Basic Facts about STIs, Reproductive Health Issues among Adolescents,” Mrs. Adejoke Abati-Sobulo of Marie Stopes Nigeria stressed the importance of hygiene during menstruation and cautioned the school girls against acts that could result in unplanned pregnancy, unsafe abortion and its complications.
Abati-Solubo highlighted the principles of puberty, the female anatomy and the benefits of maintaining good menstrual hygiene to the female students.
Chief executive officer of Maxima Systems, Mrs. Adebisi Ikuforiji, said everyone, especially young schoolgirls and women, needs nutrients through diet and supplements to live healthy lives.
In her appreciation to the organisers, the vice-principal (academic), Mrs. Patricia Anene, thanked NRHJN for the sensitization of the schoolgirls, which empowered them with information on their reproductive health rights and menstrual hygiene.
Meanwhile, the President of the NRHJN, Mrs Oluyinka Shokunbi said “The choice of Babs Fafunwa Senior Secondary School was simply because of its strategic location in the network’s catchment area and the need to encourage older girls who are often ‘forgotten’ because it is believed that they are older bracket of teenagers/adolescents but are still vulnerable to fall victims of taboos, myths, and mistakes from poor menstrual hygiene.
Shokunbi admonished the school girls to take time to invest in their menstrual health by observing cleanliness all the time to avoid infections from poor hygiene which could lead to infertility. She said the girls should always showcase the essence of womanhood continuing to stand tall with their peers anywhere in the world.
In her closing remarks, the Coordinator of Lagos State chapter of NRHJN, Miss Kikelomo Oduyebo, thanked the Love Your Menses Inc., Marie Stopes International and Maxima Systems for the collaboration in making the MH day celebration a success in Lagos State and urged the school girls to always speak up on issues affecting them not only on mensuration for social inclusion.