In commemorating the Menstrual Hygiene Day this year, we are faced with an outbreak of a global virus called ‘COVID19’. A virus that is rapidly evolving with new evidences bringing with it challenges associated primarily with not just human health but also the secondary impacts of managing the effects of the pandemic; from social to economic problems which have presented the globe with an emergency.
Even in the best of times, gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty, and lack of basic services often cause menstrual health and hygiene needs to go unmet. In emergencies, these deprivations can be exacerbated. The result is far-reaching negative impacts on the lives of those who menstruate: restricting mobility, freedom, and choices; reducing participation in school, work and community life; compromising safety; and causing stress and anxiety.
On the strength of the above, TKI is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, UNICEF, WSSCC, WaterAid, CleanNigeria secretariat, NEWSAN, NTGS, and other CSOs all of which are coordinated by the the Ministry and WSSCC. TKI is also supported by CHEVRA Delphines to provide menstrual hygiene kits comprising of some reusable sanitary pads, a face mask, and a menstrual hygiene bracelet for 3 communities in the Kuje Area Council of the FCT, in Nigeria.
We believe that this collaboration will further intensify our voices on the issues around MHM, raise awareness as regards, Policies, access to MH materials, WASH facilities for young girls and women in public places, physical and emotional responsibilities of parents and wards to their young girls during this critical stage of their lives, education on how to safely manage oneself with soap and water, the inclusion of menstrual hygiene materials in the COVID19 palliatives, throw light on the myths and misconceptions around it and contribute to end menstrual poverty.
Elsie Doolumun Ozika
(Executive Director, Toilet Kulture Initiative)