By: Lolly Sowe
Health experts have argued that lack of access to adequate sanitary products and discrimination affect girls/women during the menstrual cycle.
The onset of menstruation is one of the most important physiological changes occurring in girls during their adolescent years.
Sheriff Jawla, the principal of the School of Enroll Nursing (SEN) in Bansang, explained the lack of knowledge and awareness on menstrual hygiene among adolescents, and not having provisions for adequate user-friendly sanitary materials meaning eco-friendly sanitary materials affects girls and women during menstruation.
“Poor menstrual hygiene is caused by lack of adequate knowledge of menstrual hygiene, inadequate sanitary materials and poor waste management of sanitary products,” he said.
Menstrual hygiene is a hygienic practice during menstruation that can prevent women from infection in the reproductive and unitary tract.
Hygienic-related practices of women during menstruation are of considerable importance, as they may increase vulnerability to Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI).
Fatoumata Sanneh, the founder and Executive Director of Fateemah’s Pad Drive, does sanitary distribution nationwide to fight stigma and discrimination regarding period poverty for girls and women.
She mentioned that menstrual hygiene had been a problem because society doesn’t discuss, educate or share ideas about menstrual hygiene.
This, she added, is affecting people because society is straight on encouraging and helping their culture, but as well not learning to take care of their body parts and having access to information.
“Period is stigmatizing and it’s a taboo in society, this is the reason women don’t get to learn about their vaginal health and how to clean themselves and this leads to developing infection,” she added.
Gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services like toilets and sanitary products can all cause menstrual health and hygiene needs to go unmet.