As part of the International Youth Day celebration, a non-governmental organization (NGO), the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), has urged the Nigerian Government to enact policies that would enable the distribution of sanitary products to school girls across the country.
In a Press Statement issued in Lagos, CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, Betty Abah, said it was high time the Nigerian Government emulated Kenya and other African countries that have such policies in place.
According to Abah, distribution of sanitary products to school girls would boost their enrollment in schools because it is well known that millions of girls miss school every day due to their inability to afford sanitary wares during their menstrual cycle. Girls in a country like Nigeria suffering severe economic meltdown are particularly vulnerable, she stressed.
“Providing free sanitary products for school girls will encourage girl education and end period poverty,’ she said. ‘It is well known that the lack of access to sanitary products causes millions of girls especially from impoverished communities in developing countries to miss school every day. This is in addition to constraining many to engage in contractual sex to be able to purchase the products thereby increasing their vulnerability to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)’’, she added.
In her view, failure to do so would “impact their health negatively and impedes their overall progress in addition to widening the existing gender equality gap.’’
According to the statement, in light of Nigeria’s huge out-of-school population of about 12 million children (according to UNICEF’s statistics) most of whom are girls (currently the highest in the world), it makes it more imperative for our government to do the needful now.