By Sola Ogundipe
Adolescent girls and women of reproductive age have been urged to always speak out against all forms of stigmatisation regarding their menstrual periods while debunking the common taboos and myths surrounding menstruation.
Reproductive health advocates who spoke in Lagos, during an educational and awareness
programme to mark the 2021 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, reproductive health advocates under the aegis of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, Lagos State Chapter, charged women and adolescent girls in the state to uphold
They spoke at an event organised in collaboration with Marie Stopes International, Nigeria, Love Your Menses Inc., and Maxima Systems, held at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School, Ojodu, Lagos,
Mrs Adejoke Abati Sobulo of Marie Stopes Nigeria, who highlighted the importance of hygiene during the periods, cautioned against acts that could result in unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and its complications.
She outlined the principles of puberty, the female anatomy and explained the benefits of maintaining good menstrual hygiene.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Maxima Systems, Mrs. Adebisi Kuforiji, menstrual hygiene is very important.
“When we are menstruating, we lose a lot of calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium, and we must find a way of replacing the lost nutrients through diets and supplements.”
On her own part, Dr. Ebere Azumah of Love Your Menses Inc. said the goal is to create a safe and uplifting, and supportive space to dispel myths surrounding menstruation while supporting young people to love their menses.
In her presentation titled: “Menstrual Hygiene, My Reproductive Health Right”, she vowed: “We are committed to breaking the period taboo in communities of color through evidence-based health education, resource connection, and mentorship.
According to Azumah, 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.
The President of the NRHJN, Mrs Oluyinka Shokunbi said: “The Network joined in advocating for investment in the crucial period – the monthly cycle or menstruation as the theme of this year suggests.
“The choice of Babs Fafunwa Senior Secondary School was simply because of its strategic location in the network’s catchment area as well as the fact that 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.
“So we urged all the 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. Also admonished the girls to take time to always showcase the very essence of womanhood to continue to stand tall with their peers anywhere in the world.