Painstaking investigations by Today have unfolded that many a female student of Mangoase Senior High School (SHS) risks having the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which infects the female genitalia.
The Mangoase SHS, which is located in the Akuapim North District, Eastern Region, has a female population of about 713 out of a total student population of 1,392.
This portending health risk, the paper’s findings established, was because of the frequent use of toilet rolls instead of sanitary pads by many of the female students of Mangoase SHS during their menstrual periods.
Corroborating the danger that portends for the students, a Regenerative Medical Diagnostic Specialist and Founder of BO Medical Diagnostic Clinic, Dr Boanerges Kwashie Nkosana Nartey, in an interview with Today, revealed that the use of toilet rolls by females as an alternative for sanitary pad was very risky. That, he said, was because it could cause the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the students.
According to him, toilet rolls (papers) contain dangerous toxins, one of which was chloride bleach which he said could destroy the Hydrochloric acid haboured in the vagina of a female.
Furthermore, Today gathered that the reason these female students resort to the use of toilet rolls instead of sanitary pads was because their parents do menial jobs and were therefore unable to buy them pads for school.
According to a plausible source close to the school, many of the students go through excruciating pain during their menstrual periods, a situation which is having a telling effect on them, more especially on their academic work.
For some of the students, our source revealed are compelled to take exeats to seek medical care outside the location of the school.
“There have been cases where some female students during their menstruation have soiled themselves with blood in class because the toilet papers they used could not copiously absorb the blood,” the source hinted.
That unfortunate spectacle, our source indicated, has made many of the girls who have found themselves in that situation a laughing stock and left very deep scars on them.
Today also gathered that students whose parents are unable to provide them sanitary pads have adopted the practice of begging from those who have, thereby putting extra pressure on the few who have.
Additionally, the paper learnt that there was no means of transport to transport sick students to a nearby health post which is a 2-kilometre drive from the school.
Meanwhile, the Founder of Fanthionio Foundation, Ms Felicia Anthonio, has said that access to hygienic sanitary pad was key in advancing the education of the girl-child.
She said it was in the light of the above that she has single-handedly been supporting the girl-child in second cycle institutions with her “One Friend One Box Campaign.”
However, she bemoaned reports suggesting that female students were forced to stay out of school for an average of three days every month during menstruation mainly because they could not afford sanitary pads.
That, according to her, would definitely have a telling effect on their academic performance as compared with their male counterparts
Ms Anthonio further lamented that the imposition of the 20% tax on sanitary papers had raised the cost of the product to over $1.1 USD which she said was too expensive for most school girls from impoverished homes to buy.
To this end, she appealed to the central to waive off 20% tax on sanitary pad in order to beat down the price.
She further opined that government could make sanitary pads free and accessible in all schools across the country in an attempt to bridge the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 3 and 5.
Story: Prosper KWAKU SALASSY