Welcome! This is HNR. Mrs. MojisolaOluwa Alli-Macaulay
It is the herald of joy but also comes with anxiety and pain. The advent of the menstrual cycle in adolescents and women generally is a symbol of maturity and fertility, ceteris paribus! To many, it comes naturally and to some others, it is an admixture of joy and sorrow from mood swinging to body cramps and unbearable pain, menstruation is one event in a month but too many. Like women in labour, the menstrual period brings relief and discomfort.
According to MedlinePlus, online resource information of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM); “menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman's monthly cycle. Every month, your body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus. It passes out of the body through the vagina.” Some other symptoms include abdominal or pelvic cramping pain, lower back pain, bloating and sore breasts, food cravings, mood swings and irritability, headache and fatigue according to the body above.
Unfortunately and despite this humongous implication of mensuration in women and adolescent girls, very little attention has been placed on it; thus women and girls have been left to bear the brunt even though it is one of life oxygen that has sustained the continuous existence of mankind as without the ovary, the sperm is useless and vice versa; as it is the unused ovary that becomes the period.
It is in this regards, our gathering here today is not only symbolic but also of great importance for the liberation of women from the negative psychological effects of mensuration. Mensuration is normal and should be well managed. The starting point to effective management of mensuration is sexual education. Before a girl reaches adolescent age, parents – mothers especially have the responsibility of tutoring her girls about the next phase of life such a girl is about to enter into, and the person she is becoming. This is one thing that is seriously lacking in our part of the world today. Girls and even boys need to be mentally and emotionally prepared for puberty.
As we mark this year Menstrual Hygiene Day alongside other women in the world, it is important that all of us sited here and women and girls at home must see menstrual hygiene as a necessity, because failure to do so can result in unwholesome health issues. Some however have also argued that menstrual-related hygiene issue is not just a health issue but an economic issue. They argue that a lot of women and girls cannot afford to buy necessary sanity pads to take care of their periods; and to me too, this position has a lot of substance considering the pervasive level of poverty in developing countries like ours. This brings to question whether sanitary pads should be made available free of charge to those who cannot afford them.
The answer to the above question is not straightforward as it also raises some other questions? For instance, who paid for the pads – government or individuals, or non-governmental organizations? What mechanism is to be used for distribution? How do we ensure equity and not necessary equality? Whatsoever the answers we arrive at, women and girls must be engaged and tutored on effective menstrual hygiene management such as proper usage of sanitary materials and disposal of such materials. They must also be prepared emotionally and mentally for the ups and downs associated with the menstrual cycle so that each girl and woman can learn to glow as it flows.
To this extent, I will like to applaud the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for keying into this global subject of sensitizing, educating and adopting May 28 of every year with this maiden edition as Lagos Menstrual Hygiene Day as designated by the United Nations Population Fund. It is a commendable move worthy of commendation.
Thank you all!
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