Tamale, July 21, GNA – Madam Benedicta Kafari, Regional School Health Coordinator at the Northern Regional Education Directorate, has said menstrual cycles among females is a natural physiological condition and should not be regarded as a taboo.
She said many traditional and religious beliefs consider such menstrual cycles as a negative condition while others regard it as a taboo adding that such perceptions has affected the educational and psychological development of the girl-child.
Madam Kafari said this when addressing a symposium on Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) organised by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in collaboration with the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the Desert Research Institute.
The symposium was attended by various stakeholders with the objective of sharing knowledge and experiences on WASH and its related concerns on menstrual cycles of females particularly those in school.
The symposium was held under the theme; “Menstrual hygiene management interventions for the girl-child: successes, challenges and the way forward”.
Madam Kafari said due to the negative perceptions associated with the menstrual conditions, many female are shy of discussing the condition.
They often use expressions like “I am in red”, “I am in danger” etc to describe the condition, and such expressions suggests the negative effect their own natural physiological condition has had on them.
She expressed the worry that there were so many girls who did not know about menstruation before their first menstrual cycle occurs noting that GES was collaborating with various institutions to ensure that girl’s awareness creation on such issues is deepened.
Madam Kafari said the GES is currently working to integrate menstrual cycle education and its management into the educational curriculum to ensure that girls are fully aware of the condition while school boys’ perceptions are changed.
Mr Krish H. Ozar, CRS Country Representative to Ghana, said the organization is working with 138 schools in the northern parts of the country to ensure that WASH issues did not affect girls in school.
He said CRS was investing 1.9 million dollars annually into WASH interventions saying part of such interventions included providing micro finance support for parents to make them economically productive in assisting their wards in school and building WASH facilities in schools among others.
Mr Ozar called on the private sector, government and non-governmental institutions and universities to collaborate to help find lasting solutions to WASH problems and help promote quality education.
Dr Braimah Apambire, Director of Center for International Water and Sustainability, said research is very vital in addressing WASH programmes.
He said his outfit has been working in Ghana for the past 25 years assisting in providing quality water for the citizenry