Imagine waking up as a teenage girl with blood on your bedding and no idea why it is there. Imagine first your fear, then your shame and confusion after asking your care giver what is wrong and they tell you it is not an appropriate conversation for the home.
Most care givers do not talk to their daughters about menstruation because either they are too shy, or the daughters are too shy. The silence leads to fear and encourages the feeling of embarrassment and shame; consequently, teenage girls juggle their way around it when they begin to menstruate. They thus grow up not getting the information they need to understand and manage the menstrual cycle and menstrual hygiene.
Breaking taboos and raising awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for women and adolescent girls worldwide is a responsibility all mothers, fathers and care givers are supposed to take on this 21st Century. If women and girls lack access to affordable hygienic menstrual products, they will often use old rags, cloths or other unhygienic materials. This can lead to Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs) and other health conditions which could have been easily avoided.
From report RCESD’s women and development team got from participating in this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration this June 4th “most young girls in our communities miss up to five days of school per month when they menstruate because they do not know how to take care or go about their periods.” Thus RCESD, other NGOs and the Regional Delegate of Women Affairs, Mme Judith Moffa present, educated students, adolescent girls and women about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management which entails keeping girls healthy and in good state. They also encouraged schools to integrate education on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) into school curricula in order to ensure women and girls managing their menstruation privately, safely, hygienically and with dignity. .
For us, the conversation is not over and needs to be continued! Spread the word – keep on talking about MHM, menstruation & education in order to encourage girls reach their full potential.
Fombuh Chrystel – Program Development Officer