The Federal Government has been called upon to, as a matter of urgency, review and remove all duties and taxes required to facilitate local production of sanitary pads/towels and also ease the importation of all the needed components.
Northern Governors’ Wives Forum made the call in a statement to mark the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The call, the group said, became necessary in order to “ensure that all girls and women in every part of Northern Nigeria and indeed across our entire nation, have access to affordable, safe, and hygienic menstrual products.”
The Northern Governors Wives Forum further lamented that, given multiple challenges women and adolescent girls face, “it is evident that promoting menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is not only a sanitation matter; it is also an important step towards safeguarding the dignity, bodily integrity and overall life opportunities of women.
“We are therefore calling on well-meaning individuals, NGOs and other stakeholders to support our menstrual hygiene management (MHM) initiative.”
The group further called on all Nigerians of all cadre to support the menstrual hygiene management initiative by adopting a convenient community, civil society or school and engage actively.
It further insisted that relevant corporate organizations should donate generously to allow school authorities supply each school girl with at least 6 packets of sanitary towels per school term and that crowd funds should focus on providing Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities for schools and rural communities to bridge the gap where government stops.
The governors wives disclosed that recent research in Nigeria indicated that girls in impoverished and poor communities, prioritized food and clothing over the expense of sanitary protection.
As a result, the group lamented, “girls between the ages of 12-18years can miss up to 50 days of schooling annually. Such girls are left with 3½ years less education than their peers by the time they are required to write their final secondary school examinations.
“Failure to address the menstrual hygiene needs of women and girls therefore, has far-reaching consequences on basic hygiene, sanitation and reproductive health, ultimately affecting the achievement of SDG goal 5 on gender equality.”
While disclosing that it was already running an impactful Menstrual Hygiene partnership programs with manufacturing firm – Procter and Gamble – for over four years in States like Kebbi and Kaduna, which will soon be scaled up to other Northern states, the group said that the theme of the year 2020 campaign is #endperiodpoverty by educating young females about puberty while donating much needed sanitary pads.