When UNICEF took campaigns on challenges of menstrual hygiene to Anambra schools

By Nkiru Nwagbo on 18/06/2018

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In most parts of Igbo land and even beyond, menstruation by adult women and teenage girls is seen as a sort of taboo and those undergoing it as spiritually unclean.

It is believed in Igbo land that menstruating adult females carry some form of spiritual curses and have negative effects on the men and is capable of affecting them in many profound ways. It is even more so for titled men and those involved in one form of spiritual exercise or the other.

To this end it is forbidden for a menstruating woman to prepare food for her husband or even enter his private room as according to tradition, it weakens the spiritual aura of a man and adversely affects that which he is revered for.

Similarly the Igbo society sees a menstruating woman as unclean, both spiritually and physically hence there is that momentary stigma that is attached to them by tradition and culture.

While in the olden days, it is believed that a menstruating woman is an antidote to charms and traditional medicine practice to which virtually everybody subscribed and therefore forbidden to be close to such people at that time, even in modern times, where Christianity seems to have taken over, this attitude, has only waned, but not discarded, totally.  

This also explains why most men in the days of old marry more than one wife in other to have an alternative when the other woman is menstruating.

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Despite civilisation and advent of Christianity that ancient belief of a menstruating woman being unclean, dirty and indecent has remained and women have come to live with it.

As a result, some women have resigned to fate and abandoned the need to take ensure effective hygienic measures on themselves while menstruating.

It is against this backdrop that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Emory University (USA) and Canadian Government Foreign Affairs Trade and Development (DAFTD) under took a research in 14 countries on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).

Here in Nigeria, (MHM) in schools research project was carried out in 2015 in four selected schools each in Anambra, Kastina and Osun States. The report of the research was finalised and the findings and recommendations indicated significant challenges experienced by girls and women both at school and in communities. These findings and recommendations were disseminated at national and sub-national levels to relevant stakeholders.

In the 2018 edition of the global MHM Day, the beneficiaries of the programme in Anambra schools, included Community Secondary School Akwukwu, in Idemili South LGA, Technical School Otolo in Nnewi North, Akubuezem Community Secondary School Nnewi North as well as Ichi Community Secondary School Nnewi.

The enlightenment campaign, was conducted in the various Mr. Dan Iloegbu and Miss Lillian Oyama, the resource persons, spoke with the students and some experiments were demonstrated on how to manage menstrual hygiene like how insert sanitary pads and how to wash hands after disposing pads.

Also some students were given opportunity to share their menarche (the first occurrence of menstruation), during the programme. In some schools, the UNICEF group inaugurated Menstrual Hygiene Management Clubs, while some of the students given some text books and other materials for learning and sharing knowledge with other students.

Dr, Rose Amasiani, UNICEF focal person for Anambra State, who was on hand to give an overview, of the entire exercise, stressed why attitudes must change towards menstruating women and why personal hygiene was also very important.



Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on June, 18 2018

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