GKMA-SWP appeals for toilets in schools and promotes menstrual hygiene management

Mr George Asiedu, the National Coordinator of the Greater Metropolitan Area Sanitation Water Project (GKMA-SWP), has called upon the and district assemblies to refrain from awarding contracts for schools that lack toilet facilities.

Mr Asiedu emphasized that every school should have access to improved toilet facilities with running water for the students' use.

Furthermore, he advocated for the inclusion of changing rooms in female toilet facilities, enabling girls to conveniently change their sanitary pads during menstruation.

During the 2023 Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration in Kumasi, Mr Asiedu highlighted the importance of access to improved water supply and sanitation facilities, along with appropriate hygiene management features, for effective and efficient menstrual hygiene management.

He stated, “The girl child, and women in general, can manage their periods hygienically, safely, and privately with dignity when they have access to appropriate household and institutional sanitation facilities and the appropriate sanitary products.”

This year's celebration was themed “We are Committed to Educating Everyone About Menstruation.” As part of the event, the GKMA presented 200 cartons of sanitary pads to the Islamic Secondary School for distribution among the school's over 3,000 girls.

Mr Asiedu revealed that since its establishment in 2015, the GKMA has been providing household and institutional toilets.

The project has contributed to the provision of over 48,246 improved household toilets and 437 disability and gender-friendly sanitation facilities in schools. These facilities are equipped with adequate water supply, solid waste management features, and dedicated changing rooms for girls to manage their periods.

He added that the project has supported over 206,000 school girls, accounting for 51 per cent of the 404,000 school pupils who have benefited from the sanitation sub-component of the project.

Dr Josephine Kyei, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing of the , emphasized the need for more education on menstrual hygiene. She stressed that parents and should be equipped to provide the necessary support for girls during this time of the month.

Dr Kyei debunked myths surrounding menstruation, clarifying that menstrual blood is just like normal blood in one's veins and only becomes unclean when proper menstrual hygiene is not observed.

She highlighted the risk of infections if sanitary products are not changed regularly or if inappropriate products are used.

She advised girls to choose sanitary products that are affordable and suitable for them, and to dispose of used pads appropriately, discouraging the flushing of pads in toilets to prevent clogging.

Nana Ahwenie-Bodom, Kokofu Dwantoahemaa, encouraged girls not to feel ashamed during their menstrual period and to feel free to discuss it openly.

She emphasized that menstruation is a natural phenomenon, indicating that girls are complete women and should not consider themselves unclean. According to her, menstruation should not be viewed as a taboo or hinder girls from engaging in any activities.

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