Menstrual hygiene champions call for end of stigma

Menstrual hygiene champions call for end of stigma

By Judy Ndunge

Stakeholders in Menstrual hygiene in Kenya have called to an end of stigma around menstruation. As the world marked Menstrual Hygiene Day today, emphasis was put in strategically and effectively addressing issues that bar many girls and women from accessing support regarding their health.

Since its establishment, notable milestones have been achieved to ensure girls not only have access to sanitary pads but are well versed with menstruation matters. Yet this year’s theme “Action and Investment in Menstrual Hygiene and Health“ paints some glaring gaps in these achievements. Stigma is still a challenge.

While awareness around the topic continues to gain momentum, menstruation is still seen as a taboo in different communities. This has caused stigma, fear and shame among the women.  This year’s theme would tend to raise confidence in women and girl on matters menstruation.

In Kibra Olympic KAG Church, different organizations including Inua Dada Foundation, Creaw International, Garden of hope foundation, NHF Kenya among others had an event to mark the day. Speaking at the event Pamela Murimi a representative at the Gender department offices in Nairobi put to light the adverse effect of menstrual shaming which falls on the theme for this year under inclusivity.

“A student committed suicide just last year because of being shamed at school for having menstruation and it was so sad .In a bid to prevent further incidents ,sanitary towels were handed out in schools which created a huge positive impact  . Menstruation should not be seen as a taboo and but should be talked about so as not to be ashamed of it,” she said. The same method has been adopted by different NGO, s to give support to the girl child by opening frequent access to sanitary towels not only at school. This method has rescued a lot of young girls from the informal settlements in embarking in other measures to access pads.

According to Sylvia Akinyi  present at the event and a beneficiary of Garden of Hope Foundation’s sanitary towels distribution,  her confidence was boosted, enabling her to continue her school. “The sanitary distributions at school have really had a major effect on me.The two packs of sanitary pads were like a blessing because the expenses at home couldn’t allow me get any. I resolved to other measures whenever I was menstruating,” Akinyi explained.

Joyce Wachuka a representative at the office of Kibra Mp Hon. Bernard  Okoth  commended the various NGO,s present at the event for the support they have given to women and girls. “The office of the MP is always opened to support any noble cause not to help the girl child not only in supporting education but other matters too,” she said.

The event ended by gifting the women and girls with a dignity pack consisting of sanitary towels, sanitizer, and pants and soaps the first step in realizing this year’s theme.

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