Heal for Africa commemorates Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 in Kogi with a stakeholders dialogue themed “sustainable Solutions for Menstrual Hygiene Management”, holds menstrual hygiene workshops in Enugu, Abuja, Oyo and Ogun State.
To mark Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019, Heal for Africa held the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Conference in collaboration with the Office of the Wife of the Governor Kogi state, Her Excellency Hajia Rashida Bello.
Highlights of the program were
1. A plenary session on “sustainable solutions for menstrual hygiene management” with the Commissioner for Health, represented by Dr Akpa; Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, Commissioner for education; Mrs Oyido, Permanent secretary, Ministry of eenvironmen; Hon. Oloruntoba Kehinde, Commissioner for Agriculture; Mrs Bolanle Amupitan, Commissioner for women affairs; Dr. Zakari Usman, Chief Medical Director, Kogi Hospital Management Board; Dr. Ahmed Attah, Special Adviser to the Governor on health Matters; Mrs Gift Omoniwa, Coordinator of ActionAid Kogi and Dr. Stella Adejoh, A Gender expert who doubles as Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement. A communique will be released to this effect.
2. Keynote address on “MHM challenges and its implications on the overall development of the girl child” by Dr. Stella Adejoh and lecture on ‘health implications of poor menstrual hygiene’ by Dr. Mohammed U.F, senior registrar, Obs & Gyn, FMC, Kogi.
3. Launching of the Pink Box and Pink Bank Project by H.E Mrs Rashida Bello, an initiative to provide free sanitary pads for indigent women and girls in the state all year round.
4. Inauguration of the PATH girl hub in 11 schools (students and school principals represented), a safe space to continually engage the girls beyond menstrual hygiene matters.
6. A short play by the Heal Tribe, Kogi, exposing menstruation myths and taboos and how it marginalizes women and girls in the local community.
Dr Kelechi Okoro, Founder and Executive Director of Heal for Africa Initiative(HFAI) said the PATH project which was launched a year ago, was aimed at empowering women and girls through sexual and reproductive health education and enlightening them on their role in nation building. The project has empowered over 5000 girls in 11 schools across the three senatorial districts of Kogi state, donating over 8200 free sanitary pads and PATH Period Purses containing pads, deodorant, toothpaste, toilet soap, disinfectant, among others.
The organization today, has also launched the ”Pink Box/Bank projects” to be set up in schools to provide emergency pads and hygiene products for girls during school hours. She also noted that the Pink Bank project would be set up in strategic points in local government areas as a free pad collection center for indigent women and girls.
”Today’s program is symbolic as we have gone a step further to bring together stakeholders ( Schools, community, household, NGOs, Government, Traditional and religious leaders) to expose the multifaceted challenges women and girls face during menstruation, gather different insights on the situation and proffer sustainable solutions” she said. With the right policies in place, women and girls are able to manage their period safely, hygienically and with dignity. Noone shoulr be limited because of a normal physiologic process like menstruation.
Heal for Africa also held menstrual Hygiene Management workshops in Enugu, Abuja and Ogun state, reaching over 2000 girls on Menstrual Hygiene Day.
On May 24th, 2019, it launched officially in Enugu state, while officially launching concurrently in Abuja and Ogun state on May 28th, 2019 and Oyo state on May 30th, making its presence felt in 6 states of the federation. While HFAI considers this a great stride in such a short time, it would work even more diligently to take her menstrual hygiene advocacy to even more girls and women in the rural communities, IDP camps, etc.