By Constance Meju
Although the future to a healthy nation lies in theproper management of the hygiene and reproductive health advancementsespecially of girls, government seems not to care about this. The adolescentconstitute boys and girls between the age of 13 and 20, a large chunk of ourlarge population now over 200 million.
Prof. Diuto Akanwor brought this neglect to the foretwo years ago at a workshop on women organized by Godspresence Foundation atthe University of Port Harcourt. She harped on the importance of enlighteningthese young minds on healthcare and making provisions for their healthcare toensure future sound development as those who will procreate for our nextgeneration knowing that failure to do so might affect fertility and the futurehealth of the nation in general.
Sanitation and hygiene have since become a majorarea of concern to the UN related organs and this year, menstrual hygiene wascelebrated May 30 by the UN. The 2019 celebration was tagged, “It is Time forAction”; calling for global attention on the hygiene need of the girl-child.
Joining in the celebration, NENSAN nationalcoordinator urged all organizations and individuals in position to watch outfor the health need of girls to do all they can to ensure healthy sanitaryhabits are cultivated by girls.He called for education of the girls on goodhygiene menstruation, policies to make access to hygienic menstruation to helpthe process.
Full text of the commemorative Press Release read:
“The NENSAN national coordinator on behalf of thenational executive committee and all its members, join the rest of the world tocommemorate the 2019 Menstrual Hygiene Management Day with the theme, ‘It isTime for Action’. The action is not limited to CSOs, girls or women, becausethis is of general concern to humanity.
“It is time for Action for fathers, brothers,uncles, traditional and religious leaders, government, executive, – judiciaryand legislative.It is also time for heads of educational and healthinstitutions, business regarding heads and owners of public places to takeappropriate actions.
“All must show concern to ensure that suitablefacilities are provided and made always available, accessible and in goodcondition, safe and provide privacy for girls and women; meaning, the sanitaryfacilities for females must be well separated from that of the males, andequipped with portable water and soap which must be freely accessed all time(with good lighting).
“It is important that women and girls must be givenproper orientation on good menstrual hygiene management provision to avoidwrong assumption. For girls, this shouldstart quite early from primary school while for older women, regular enlightenmentshould be carried out through the media.It is also important that an assessmentof existing laws and policies is carried out to ensure that all issues relatingto availability to facilities with appropriate standards are duly addressed.
“The various stakeholders earlier mentioned shouldengage proper and regular sensitization of males of different categoriesranging from brothers at home, fathers, uncles, male school or classmates, to malelecturers and heads of educational institutions, male traditional and religiousleaders including public and business persons and policy makers.
“Other stakeholders should ensure that regularadvocacy and engagement are carried out with constant monitory to ascertain theextent of improvement or otherwise, in order, to determine the need to review monitorystrategy. With these carried out and backed with appropriate attitude andconcern, all the traditional, religious taboos, prohibitions and socialstigmatizations would become forgotten,thereby,‘leaving no girl or woman behind’ the scene of development”.
#Gender and Accountability
Constance Meju is a veteranjournalist and gender and human right advocate committed to gender andenvironmental justice. She is publisher of Port Harcourt based National PointNewspaper.