To mark International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021, IRC Ghana joined the Ghana Education Service School Health and Education Programme (GES-SHEP) and the National Technical Committee to mark the International Menstrual Hygiene Day with the launch a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Guidelines on 28th May, 2021 at the GNAT Headquarters in Accra.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum called on stakeholders to work towards improving MHM to ensure that no girl was left behind. He said that Government would help the country to meet the target of the Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG 4) - which is ensuring inclusive and equitable education for all. “It will also help us to achieve targets SDGs Six and Five, that is ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation,” he stated. He said the Ministry was committed to promoting hygienic practices around MHM, as well as providing the necessary menstrual hygiene products and infrastructure.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, who delivered her address in a recorded video, said the Ministry was working with the Ministry of Finance to remove taxes on menstrual products. She also expressed the hope that through advocacy programmes on menstrual hygiene, the negative social norms surrounding menstrual hygiene would soon be a thing of the past.
The Country Representative, UNICEF Ghana, Ms. Annie Claire-Dufay stated, “We need to invest in every adolescent girl's future with more gender-friendly sanitation facilities in schools, adequate nutrition and information for girls and boys.” She also called for mainstreaming MHM and adolescent reproductive health education topics in the curriculum to provide equal access to information for girls and boys. “UNICEF invites the government and private sector to substantially reduce the prices of sanitary pads and other materials for girls and women, whether they are produced locally or imported,” she added.
The MHM Guidelines, developed with technical and financial support from KOICA through UNICEF is to improve the delivery of MHM. It is also to assist stakeholders at all levels to implement actions for effective MHM programming and provide an appropriate environment for girls through improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and services.
The 2021 MH Day commemoration was under the theme ‘More Action and Investment in Menstrual Health and Hygiene Now’! Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated on the 28th of May each year since 2014. This is to create a world where every girl and woman manages her menstruation and all issues related without a speck of shame. Every girl and woman should be able to confidently talk about their menstrual health and hygiene without it becoming a barrier in their lives.
The event was coordinated under the National Technical Committee on MHM led by the SHEP Unit of the GES. The programme was chaired by a Broadcast Journalist, Oheneyere Gifty Naana Afia Dansoa Anti, CEO of GDA Media Limited. She urged the government to take immediate action to address challenges associated with menstrual hygiene in schools.
The programme attracted participants from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), Development Partners (DPs), Religious group, the media, school children and teachers. IRC Ghana supported the pre-event promotion, onsite and post event reportage.