OPINION: Of Rising Cost of Sanitary Pads and Looming Effect in the Nook

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By: Ibraheem Olasunkanmi Qoseem

Undoubtedly, the harsh reality of fluctuating economy has done on us in all aspects of life. The impact of this on commodities, including the women sanitary products is my focus today. The physiological distress and social injustice that come with menstrual cycle are enough burdens to bare; added to this is financial challenges and affordability of sanitary pads. This period poverty is what we must all work to resist in order to avoid the situation from spiralling out of control.

Menstruation is a natural, yet involuntary periodic flow of blood during ovulation. It signals the transition of girl child to womanhood. Some women experience the prideful bleed (menstruation) at the beginning, middle or end of every month depending on the periodic cycle and it averagely last for Four days.

While sanitary pad is the healthiest and it does not only safe menstruating women from the embarrassment of blood stains on their clothes, but also discourage build up of infections due to poor personal hygiene. It is on record that alternatives like the use of rags, cotton wool and tampons are less effective and less hygienic and at best offer just ill fare effects.

In recent times, there is drastic decrease in child and maternal mortality rate and increase in female child education, they were not magic, many efforts and interventions like sanitary pads made it happen, but the gradual slide into orthodox ways of maintaining good hygiene during menstrual flow due to financial crunch is a big setback.

Speaking on the subject, Dr. Imran Bello, Consultant at University College Ibadan frowned at the local practice of menstrual hygiene, where he said that women using cotton wool and tampons are at risk of blood infections (septicemia), because if these materials get trapped in the vagina, they could block the blood flow and cause shock and eventual death.

In an information gathered from National Centre for Biotechnology Information, it was noted that inability of girls’ to smartly handle menstrual hygiene can hamper their academics as seen in absenteeism, poor academic performance and may eventually drop out of school.

Obviously, the reality of economic crunch is grave on us but still there are things we can do to discourage the local practices. If condoms are shared freely in the society why should sanitary pads take an exception? Government and stakeholders can take the lead by subsidising the cost of sanitary pads, stocking of public toilets and, building of toilets in schools and public places.

And also Non-governmental organizations should not be tired yet, they should go to the rural areas to train young girls and women on mass production of reusable sanitary pads. Our teachers should embrace the teaching of sex education to increase the awareness that menstruation is not a disease.

Educated individuals, can as well champion campaigns against stigmatisation and discrimination of female child for prideful bleeding. If we are all busy by contributing our quota in one way or the other, we will definitely have the looming effect in nook averted. Thus, our society will boast of fully functional women with intimidating achievements.

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