By Victoria Ojeme, Fortune Eromosele and Bolu Obawhopo
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said over 37 million Nigerian adolescent girls and women of reproductive age, lack access to menstrual hygiene products due to high costs.
It will be recalled that World Menstrual Hygiene Day, is celebrated on June 3 every year.
The Minister disclosed this at a Joint Press Briefing by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the Federal Capital Territory Administration held at the FMWA’s headquarters, Abuja with the theme “It’s time for Action”.
She noted that an increase in the importation tariff will affect consumers’ price and purchasing ability, which she said will be detrimental to women and girls, knowing that it is an essential commodity.
She maintained that, “This high cost of menstrual products which will in the long run be borne by women and girls will definitely affect school girls across Nigeria, thereby creating a ‘Period Poverty,’ a situation where women and young girls lack access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.
“We will also use this opportunity to highlight to the appropriate authorities, the danger the proposed National Diaper and Sanitary Pads Policy, which increases the import tariff on Diapers and Sanitary pads from 20 percent to 55 percent poses on Menstrual Hygiene Management.
“This Policy will no doubt affect the availability, affordability and acceptability of sanitary pads in the country. This will further negate the successes so far recorded by this Ministry in this regard.”
Tallen added that to ensure girls and women do not feel limited by their periods, sensitisation programs and an increased education on menstrual hygiene should be a continuous agenda for all individuals and groups.
Meanwhile, as the world marked the 2021 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, a beauty queen in Kogi State, Omidan Oge Okun 2020, Temitope Folashade has commenced the distribution of sanitary pads to secondary schools girls in her crowned council areas; starting from her LGA, Mopamuro.
The Beauty Queen who is carrying out the distribution under her pet project, “Pad the Girl Child ” said the project is meant for the poor and vulnerable young girls, especially who could not afford to adequately take care of themselves during their monthly cycles.
She said the high cost of commodities in Nigeria has made pads inaccessible for poor girls; with some of the girls missing out of school during their menstrual cycle days.
“The project is also aimed at curbing this ugly trend and reinforcing the confidence of girls, especially in the rural areas, to be proud of their menstrual cycle.
“Every young girl in the society has the right to achieve their best possible standard of health and education. Menstruation should not be a barrier to school for a girl child.”