By Halimat Isah.
Founder of Heal for Africa Initiative, Doctor Kelechi Okoro on Wednesday emphasized on the need to produce Eco friendly sanitary pads for menstrual cycles.
Doctor Kelechi made the remark at the launching of her initiative, Pay Attention To Her (PATH) at Al-Ansar Secondary School in Lokoja while addressing some teenage girls on menstrual hygiene.
She noted that the eco-friendly menstrual pads could be produced from agricultural products like Banana Peels, Plantain Stems among others, adding that the launching of her programme was in commemoration of 2018 Menstrual Hygiene Day.
According to her, launching PATH became necessary because of issues young girls face in managing their menstrual circle, stressing that the aim of the project was to demystify menstruation problems.
“We are aware some of these girls have limited access to affordable sanitary materials which makes them prone to infection that may even affect their reproduction in future,” she explains.
“The 'Pay Attention to Her' project which is expected to empower 200 school girls today, will not only stop here in Lokoja, we are going to take the campaign of educating young girls on menstrual and general female hygiene to the three Senatorial Districts of the state. We will educate them on the need to be hygiene conscious, empower them with sanitary materials and also let them see reasons why they should not be ashamed of their periods,” she noted.
Doctor Kelechi called on the policy makers in Ministries of Health, Environment and Agriculture for partnership as the whole campaign has to do with their ministries in some ways.
In her speech, the Secretary to the State Government, Doctor Folashade Arike described the students as privileged to have access to the information that would help prepare and prevent them from the dangers of hygiene related infections.
Doctor Arike, while commending Doctor Kelechi Okoro for the Initiative, called on the students to ensure they utilize knowledge gained from the programme as it relates to their health and wellbeing generally in order to be able to reproduce in the future.
Speaking, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mrs Petra Akinti Onyegbule, said there was no shame in being a girl child observing a menstrual cycle.
She stressed the need to protect the girl child from all possible dangers, and described girls as caring to their peers and relations. She added that they have a way of transferring love from themselves to others.
“If you empower a girl child, you empower a nation. We must ensure they observe good menstrual hygiene and good hygiene generally, and protect their future. And as girls, you must share this knowledge, don't be ashamed of your menstrual cycle, period is period” she added.
The Special Adviser to Kogi State Governor on Health, Doctor Ahmed Attah stressed the need for girl children to have interactions with their parents and health practitioners on their cycles as well as general hygiene.
“The organizer of the programme deserves commendation, this is completely educative, what lack of information can cause a girl child is enormous, girls, don't hide your cycle from your mother” Doctor Attah added.