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Reps want sanitary pads for schoolgirls — after report on period ‘pains’

The house of representatives has demanded that sanitary pads be made available to schoolgirls regularly.

The lower legislative chamber also urged the ministries of health and women affairs to initiate ways of improving the hygiene of women and girls in the country.

The prayers were contained in a motion sponsored by Wunmi Onanuga, chairperson of the committee of women development and social development, and four other lawmakers on Thursday.

This comes months after TheCable reported how poor menstrual hygiene has been keeping some girls away from school.

In the report, some of the victims said they were unable to afford sanitary pads — even for N200 — hence they would rather stay at home.

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While moving the motion in commemoration of the international day of the girl child, Onanuga said menstrual hygiene is vital to the empowerment and well-being of girls worldwide.

The lawmaker from Ogun state said 25 percent of women lacked “adequate privacy to menstrual hygiene management.”

“The major constraint for effective menstrual management is the high cost of sanitary pads as a result of the harsh economic realities in the country where a large number of families live below the poverty line,” she said.

“The house is also worried about the low level of awareness regarding menstrual hygiene in Nigeria and growing discussions of stigmas and misconceptions related to menstruation especially restriction from social activities deeply rooted in myths.

“Desirous of the need to improve menstrual hygiene of women and girls by removing sales tax feminine hygiene products and regularly distributing of menstrual pads in schools, providing access to quality menstrual products.”

The house also directed its committee of women affairs and social development to convene a stakeholder summit on the challenges hygiene management in the country.

The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives.