WINDHOEK - In many societies menstruation is discussed in hushed tones, according to the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna.
“Unfortunately, the ripple effect is that young girls across the country are forced to go out of school because they cannot deal with it,” said Kavetuna who spoke at the launch of the ‘My period is awesome’ campaign, which is aimed at, amongst others, establishing a positive perception of menstruation.
The deputy minister, who officially launched the campaign, said health is a human right and so is menstrual health management.
“Menstrual health management entails more than just providing pads and other items. We have to ensure that even those who can afford pads are not kept away from school due to infections. We pledge to promote menstrual health hygiene through educating, promoting and creating youth-friendly clubs and corners in our facilities,” Kavetuna remarked.
Speaking at the same occasion, the founding executive director of Women’s Action for Development, Veronica de Klerk, said the majority of rural schoolgirls miss school each month due to a lack of sanitary pads, adding that in some cultural settings women and girls are forced into seclusion during menstruation.
She further noted that women and girls in Namibia who live in poverty do not always have access to sanitary products and are forced to make use of unsanitary and ineffective materials that can introduce diseases and infections.
“Some parents do not feel comfortable sharing information with their children about menstruation,” De Klerk said.
Touching on the ‘My period is awesome’ campaign, De Klerk said an important aspect is that it introduces positive alternatives to menstruating schoolgirls in the form of the menstrual cup. The menstrual cup, De Klerk added, has numerous advantages.
“The menstrual cup is typically made of silicone, it is eco-friendly and it is affordable. It has more capacity than tampons or pads and thankfully only has to be emptied every 12 hours which covers an entire day,” explained de Klerk.
The menstrual cup is reusable for a period of five years on condition that it is sterilized after each use and well maintained. “This means that the cups do not contribute more waste to the environment,” De Klerk noted.
The possible introduction of these menstrual cups, especially to poor families, will be of ground-breaking significance because it will surely have a positive impact on the school performance of girls, who would have no further need to miss out on school every month, De Klerk told Kavetuna.
2018-09-17 09:28:09 1 years ago