Menstruation Should Not Be A Barrier to Education – Education Minister
Stakeholders in education have been urged to work towards the elimination of cultural practices that restricted girls from attending school during their menstrual period.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Deputy Minister of Education in Change of General Education who made the call, said menstruation which is a natural occurrence to adolescent girls must not be a barrier to their education.
He has therefore called on parents and guardians, teachers, traditional and religious leaders to engage in discussions on the matter to demystify the myths and taboos surrounding menstruation because it was not a curse but a sign of good reproductive health
These were contained in a speech read on his behalf by the Central Region Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mrs Sabina Jane-Obeng, at the commemoration of this year’s National Menstrual Hygiene Day at Breman Assikuma in the Central Region on Monday.
The celebration was on the theme, “Empowering women and girls through menstrual hygiene management”.
The Day was used to raise awareness of the challenges women and girls worldwide faced during menstruation and highlighted solutions that addressed such challenges.
Dr Adutwum mentioned that the silence on menstruation and the lack of access to sanitation facilities as well as hygienic materials directly affected women and adolescent girls’ self-esteem, health and education.
He said it was imperative for policy makers and all relevant stakeholders to increase investment in school WASH infrastructure and make sanitary pads affordable to girls and women to cater for their privacy and dignity.
He expressed the commitment of the Government to continuously collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that menstrual hygiene and health of women and girls were enhanced to contribute to improved learning and educational outcomes.
Nana Esi Inkoom, the National Co-ordinator of the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), underscored the important roles of males to make it easier for women and girls to go through the period of menstruation with dignity.
“We must desist from stigmatising and as men and boys; you must give your wives, sisters and mothers the maximum support. You should not let anything hinder girls when they are in their menstrual period,” she said.
She called on corporate institutions to support programmes for improving menstrual hygiene.
Nana Ama Amissah, Paramount Queen mother of Mankessim Traditional Area, advised young girls to quickly inform their parents on having their first menstruation instead of seeking advice from their peers.
She called on the Government to provide befitting modern sanitary facilities in schools to promote proper hygienic practices because they were key to good menstrual health.
Mr George Kobina Yorke, Country Director of WaterAid, said stakeholders must be worried about the cultural and social misconceptions about menstruation and work towards their elimination.
In this way, he said the purpose for the celebration of Menstrual Hygiene Day would become meaningful.