Some female students of Baware D/A Basic School in the Eastern Region of Ghana have appealed to the government to include the provision of free sanitary pads as part of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy which is been run by the state.
They maintained that the provision of free sanitary pads to adolescent girls will encourage more girls to be in school during menstruation.
The students made the appeal at the day’s Policy Dialogue forum on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) organized by the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) which was held at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra on Wednesday, 30th June 2021.
A representative of the school Miss Esther Mintaah who spoke on behalf of the female student at the Policy Dialogue forum narrated the ordeal many young adolescent girls are going through especially those in the rural communities.
According to her, many of her fellow female students who did not have access to sanitary products managed their menses using unhygienic items like newspaper, pieces of dirty cloth, or leaves.
She further noted that due to the unhygienic items used during menstruation most of the girl’s bloodstains in their uniforms often exposed them to public ridicule. This she said had driven away lots of girls from the classroom.
Miss Mintaah sadly explained to the shock of participants at the forum how lots of teenage girls have been impregnated by some: Okada riders and commercial drivers because they went soliciting money to buy sanitary pads.
“These riders and drivers mostly demand sex in exchange for the little money they give to these innocent girls” she disclosed.
Miss Mintaah told the gathering her school ‘Baware D/A Basic School’ used to have high female absenteeism but for the intervention by Plan International, Ghana, the situation has improved drastically.
“Plan International, Ghana has provided our school with a complete WASH facility comprising water system, girl-friendly toilet, and changing rooms and a quarterly supply of free sanitary pads” she announced.
“It is from this great experience that we call on the government to include free distribution of sanitary pads into the FCUBE and Free SHS Policy” Miss Mintaah reiterated.
The representative of Baware D/A Basic School opined that she and her colleagues want more favourable conditions for the many women and girls in Ghana without access to basic information on menstrual hygiene management, dignified toilets, safe water, and safe sanitary hygiene materials.