The Northern Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) joined the world to celebrate the National Menstrual Hygiene Day with a call for the provision of toilet facilities which are gender friendly with changing rooms.
It also called for an advocacy on the continuous education targeting girls, boy and the parents, easy accessibility to menstrual hygiene products, even during the COVID-19 pandemic and demystification of myths and taboos connected with menstruation.
This would enable the children in their period access the facilities to address their issues during the period.
This was contained in a press release signed by the Deputy General of GES Anthony Boateng for Director General to the media houses as the nation celebrate the day via social media, radio, press release and television broadcasts due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the restriction on public gathering.
This year’s celebration, on the theme ‘It’s Time for Action’, takes place in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a health crisis which has thrown a spotlight on the importance of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene.
It is a day to celebrate women and girls, to discuss menstruation and to advocate for 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.
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 2017/2018, in Ghana, fewer than one in two (48.5%) of households have hand washing facilities with water and soap and one in three women do not have access to a toilet during menstruation. Many did not have access to sanitary products and managed their menses using unhygienic items like newspaper or leaves.
The economic and other social factors of COVID-19, including potential loss or reduction in family income, coupled with school closures and increase in cost of commodities may result in many adolescent girls and women having less ability to afford or access relevant sanitary materials.
In addition, the closure of schools may lead to fewer girls and boys having basic information in relation to menstrual hygiene management.
A short film of well-known personalities from all sectors including government ministers, religious and traditional leaders, adolescents and broadcasters celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day was shown to educate the young girls especially.