OBAJI ABUNG-AKPET, Calabar
Worried about increasing sexual and reproductive health issues among young people in Cross River State, Second Chance Initiative (SCI), a non-governmental organization, is collaborating with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), office of Dr. Linda Ayade, wife of the State Governor and Medical Women Association (MWA) to hold massive sensitization on menstrual hygiene in rural communities in the state.
SCI, known for championing capacity and sensitization towards promoting reproductive health and rights, and enabling young people make informed choices in Nigeria, made this known in Calabar through a statement by Mrs. Lillian Oyama, the Executive Director of the NGO.
Oyama said her organization was worried that an issue that affects everyday life, especially young rural dwellers is far swept under the carpet, hence the need for SCI to rejuvenate the course.
Part of issue trailing this trend, she said, included poor awareness at home and in schools; paucity of sanitary pads and other hygiene menstrual products, adequate toilets, water and disposal options.
She said her NGO would partner others to observe the International Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28 the activities of which will start from Friday 26.
She also said the event would be launched in various outreaches in communities in the state with the peak holding at Holy Child Girls Secondary School in Ikom Local Government Area.
“The theme for this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day is “Education”, and part of activities to mark the Day are essay competition and awards for secondary school students aimed at creating awareness on menstrual hygiene among teenage girls in the state. It is scheduled to hold on Friday at Holy Child Secondary School Ikom”, Oyana said.
The statement further said: “Following after the school competition will be free medical outreach on breast, cervical cancer and treatment of minor ailments with the chief of it all holding in Okuni of Ikom on Saturday.”
The reproductive health needs crusader added that “While the international menstrual hygiene day celebration itself with distribution of free sanitary pads holds on Sunday at Holy Child Girls Secondary School.”
She called for support from donors to join the campaign to enable girls stay in school with donations of sanitary pads and other hygiene menstrual products, adequate toilets, water and disposal options.
Others expected to partner the initiative include the Cross River Government through the Ministry of Health, Aurora Loreli Ltd, Child Survival Development Organization, Pro-Health International, Fhi360, Teens with Skills among others.
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