Dr Kwabena B. Tandoh, the Deputy Director-General for Quality and Access at GES, assured that the service has engaged relevant stakeholders to address the issue of “period poverty” experienced by girls and women.
“Period poverty” refers to the lack of access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities, waste management, or a combination of these factors. It affects approximately 500 million people worldwide.
Speaking at a commemorative event in Accra to mark the 2023 Menstrual Hygiene Day, Dr Tandoh emphasized the need to eliminate the 20 per cent import tax on sanitary pads to make them accessible and affordable for girls and women.
Menstrual Hygiene Day serves as an opportunity for health organizations, professionals, and women to advocate for menstrual hygiene-related issues and find solutions.
This year's theme is “We are Committed,” with the overarching goal of creating a world where menstruation does not hold anyone back.
According to the World Bank, around 500 million women and girls globally lack access to basic menstrual products and hygienic bathroom facilities during their menstrual cycles.
He also stressed the importance of integrating Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and adolescent reproductive health education into the curriculum to provide equal access to information for both girls and boys.
During the event, a panel discussion was held with participants from faith-based organizations, the private sector, government agencies, and civil society organizations to discuss strategies for promoting menstrual hygiene in Ghana.
Dr Louisa Mantey, the District Director of Ayawaso West Ghana Health Service, highlighted their efforts in promoting menstrual hygiene, including the distribution of 4,000 sanitary pads and strengthening health promotional activities through social and behavioural communication.
Ms Shamima Muslim, the Menstrual Hygiene Management Ambassador and Convener of the Alliance for Women in Media Africa called on the media to intensify awareness campaigns on proper clinical management practices to promote menstrual hygiene.
She also suggested exploring local production of sanitary pads to enhance the impact of the proposed elimination and reduction of the 20 per cent import tax.
Sheikh Ali Napari, a representative of the Light Foundation, recommended the inclusion of sermons on menstrual hygiene in religious activities to raise awareness and dispel myths surrounding menstruation.
Mrs Mavis Leonards, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Sky Limited, Novalle Ebullience Limited, a leading integrated security company in Ghana, supported the calls for eliminating the import duty on sanitary pads. She emphasized the importance of ensuring that the pricing of sanitary pads reflects this elimination to achieve uniformity.