The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic has crippled all national and international occasions across the globe. People no longer celebrate and honour key events as it used to be. Today marks the World Hygiene day, but the COVID-19 has made the celebration unrecognized.
In recognizing and acknowledging the day, the Education Concept and Social Institute, a think tank that seeks to identify the shortfalls in Ghana’s educational system and also make possible suggestions to tackle the challenges confronting education, has provided some key education on menstrual hygiene to the general public using an electronic prints and visual texts.
According to the Education Concept and Social Institute, Menstruation as everybody knows “is a natural phenomenon which occurs among young girls and women between the ages of 10 years up until menopause. In younger girls it occurs at a critical stage of their education.
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The Institute disclosed that, about 30% of girls in urban communities and close to 60% of girls in rural communities absent themselves from school during their menstrual periods. Many reasons have been advanced as a cause of absenteeism during this period, among which are;
- Poor sanitary conditions in our schools
- Unaffordability of sanitary pads by girls in rural communities
- Poor education on menstruation and menstrual hygiene
- Myth of girls staying indoors during menstrual periods
A fellow of the Education Concept and Social Institute Mr. David Atiogbe in an interview with the chief editor of Coverghana.com.gh has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government through the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service in collaboration with Health and Gender Relations and National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to intensify public education on menstrual hygiene in pre-tertiary institutions across the country. “It is light of these facts that the government through the Ministries of Education, Health and Gender Relations must take a serious look at menstrual hygiene in our schools.” He appealed.
In order to curb the situation, the Education Concept and Social Institute, Ghana, proposes the following actions to be taken in Ghanaian schools;
- Provide adequate sanitation facilities in schools across the country
- Remove all taxes on sanitary pads to make it affordable, subsidize them for school children and if possible provide them for free to all school girls menstruating.
- Train and equip School Based Health Coordinators (SBHC) to intensity and adequately educate pupils on menstruation.
- Demystify through community engagements the myth that girls should stay indoors during menstruation.
The institute hopes that, if the suggested guidelines are implemented carefully and urgently, the negative impact of absenteeism during menstrual periods on our girls will be reduced and shall be a thing of the past.