THE Female Professionals’ Book Club, as part of its Free Sanitary Pad initiative for girls, donated free packs of sanitary pads on Wednesday to 200 secondary school students drawn from seven secondary schools in Ibadan North Local government area to curb pad poverty.
Dr Gbemisola Daramola, a medical doctor, who spoke at the Female Professionals’ Book Club’s menstrual hygiene day at the Oba Akinbiyi Model High School, Oremeji, Ibadan, said pad poverty and inadequate sanitary facilities prevent many girls during their menstruation to come to school.
She said that knowledge about menstruation is poor in many communities, with 14 percent of girls admitting they did not know what was happening when they started their period and one in 5 of girls feel comfortable discussing their period with their school teachers or staff
In addition, she said one in 4 girls said they did not feel they knew what to do when they started their period while 48 per cent of girls feel embarrassed by their period, with the figure rising to 50 per cent of 16 years old.
According to her, menstruation is a normal thing that girls shouldn’t be moody, feel bad or cranky about or be a hindrance to their education if they are knowledgeable about it and how to maintain menstrual hygiene.
Dr Daramola, noting that menstruation is a normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle, said it was preferably that women and girls use and change their sanitary towels and pads frequently to keep fresh and dry, dispose the pads properly after use and maintain a calendar of their cycle.
The medical expert said menstruation is nature’s way of preparing the body for having a baby when a girl is older and any girl that has not started menstruating by age 15 need to see a doctor for proper examination to find out what may be wrong.
Dr Daramola said girls that experience pain or cramps during their menstruation should ensure they eat a balanced diet, engage in gentle exercise, have hot water bottle massage and recommended painkillers.
She, however, declared that sex and eating junk foods is not a cure for menstrual cramps.
Founder of the Female Professionals’ Book Club, Mrs Ezinne Ibe, in a remark, stated that the group founded in 2017 and with over 130 professional women across the country, aim was to reach out to girls in public schools, like their contemporaries in private schools, with information on menstrual hygiene and free sanitary pads.
“Sometimes last year, while reading a book, we came across a girl who had to miss school because she was having her period. So we thought that we could reach out to girls in public schools in our localities so that we can teach them the things they need to know on menstrual hygiene.”