Prioritize Systems towards eliminating menstrual stigma – G2 Foundation

Kumasi, June 01, 2024

The G2 Foundation, has urged the governments, policymakers and stakeholders to prioritize and address systemic barriers to access menstrual health and hygiene.

The G2 Foundation is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) into the health, education and socioeconomic welfare of the vulnerable, particularly widows, widowers, orphans, Persons with Disabilities and the elderly.

In an interview with News, Mrs Gifty Nyarko Karikari, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation said the annual International Menstrual Hygiene Day serves as a platform to highlight awareness around menstruation issues. 

She lauded the theme: “Together for a Period Friendly World” for the 2024 International Menstrual Hygiene Day, therefore called for open discussions on issues pertaining to menstruation and menstrual health and hygiene, to normalize the period so that women and girls can confidently manage their periods without facing discrimination or shame.

Mrs Nyarko Karikari noted investing in menstrual health programs, improving sanitation infrastructure, and integrating menstrual hygiene into broader health and development agenda contributes to ensuring access to safe and hygienic menstrual products and facilities, crucial for the health and well-being of menstruating individuals. 

Hence, it was crucial to confront the cultural and societal stigma surrounding the period, and advocate for universal access to menstrual products and facilities.

Mrs Nyarko Karikari emphasized the need to intensify awareness campaigns to challenge menstrual stigma and foster positive attitudes towards menstruation.

Women/Girls Empowerment 

Mrs Nyarko Karikari noted menstruation should not impede education, employment, and daily activities, yet, due to insufficient access to menstrual products and inadequate sanitation facilities, many girls miss school or drop out altogether. 

She therefore pleaded for policies and initiatives that promote menstrual equity and empower women and girls to participate fully in society, regardless of their menstrual status.

Education and Sensitization 

Mrs Nyarko Karikari observed comprehensive menstrual health and hygiene education across schools, communities, and healthcare settings would not only provides accurate information about menstrual health and hygiene and reproductive anatomy, but key practices to dispelling myths and misconceptions about menstruation and ensure accurate information reaches young girls.

These could be achieved through stakeholders commitment to challenge taboos, and work towards a world where menstruation is embraced as a natural part of life, by advocating for menstrual equity and empowering individuals to be able to create an inclusive and supportive society for all, she noted.

Mrs Nyarko Karikari reiterated the need for the state to address policies, gaps, review and revise policies to be inclusive and gender-sensitive to meet the needs of menstruating individuals. 

Sectorial support for initiatives that promote menstrual equity and remove barriers to hygiene and health as well as encouraging dialogue on menstrual health and hygiene were vital in combating the stigma, offering age-appropriate information and addressing questions to avoid negative language, debunk myths and misconceptions.

Empowering the girl-child to manage her menstrual health, further contribute to reducing stigma and bring healthier attitude towards periods.

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