The Federal Government on Monday said it will develop policies to promote effective Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) in the country.
Mr Ali Madugu, Deputy Director, Child Development Department, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, said this at a one-day Meeting to Develop Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on MHHM in Abuja.
According to him, the development of policies and IEC materials are to support advocacy on MHHM to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as to women and girls at the grassroots.
“Today’s meeting creates an opportunity to kick-start the process of the development of a document that will not only be used for advocacy to stakeholder at the national and state levels, but can also be used for sensitisation and awareness creation among adolescent girls and women.
“The materials we are here to develop are not just a document for the federal ministry of Women Affairs alone, but a document that will be circulated to all the state ministries across the country,” he said.
Also, Mrs Maryam Shuaibu, Head, Health Desk Division, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, said the essence of the meeting is to develop IEC materials for improved MHHM.
“The objective of this meeting is to develop a handbook that is easily accessible, which provides information for improving menstrual hygiene practices for women and girls, build the competence and confidence of women and girls on menstrual matters and break the silence surrounding the issue.
“It will also promote increased engagement in advocacy on menstrual hygiene and encouraging relevant sectors to collaborate for effective intervention on MHHM,” she said.
According to her, participants in the meeting were expected to come up with a draft IEC on issue of menstruation among Nigerian women and girls.
She said this was imperative due to the low level of awareness on MHHM, which had contributed greatly to the growing stigma and misconceptions related to menstruation, especially restriction from social activities.
Dr Elizabeth Jeiyol, Co-chair, Technical Working Group, MHHM committee, said material deprivation, lack and cost of clean absorbents, lack of WASH facilities and disposal are factors that contribute to poor menstrual health.
Jeiyol, represented by Elsie Ozika, Executive Director, Toilet Kulture, stressed the need to make available and accessible facilities and materials to promote MHHM in the country.
A participant, Ms Jachike Ojukwu, who represented the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), said the meeting will improve the overall MHHM of women and girls, thereby attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly on good health and wellbeing of women and girls.
Similarly, Mrs Funmi Olorunmola, Executive Director, Pad A Girl project, said the meeting is an opportunity for government and relevant stakeholders to provide materials that can easily be distributed to young girls and women on MHHM.
“These materials will provide vital information on MHHM, when we carry out advocacies and the girls can easily refer to it whenever the needs arise,”she said. (NAN)