ISLAMABAD: Speakers have urged the government to take steps to incorporate menstrual health in school and college curriculum.
They were speaking at an event organised the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Working Group — a coalition of organisations working on menstrual hygiene rights in Pakistan — to mark the Menstrual Hygiene Day here at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) on Thursday.
Representatives of government, international and national development agencies, civil society members, health experts, academia, donors and a large number of youth attended the event. This year, the global theme of the day is “Menstruation Matters for Everyone, Everywhere”.”
The Menstrual Hygiene Day serves as a neutral platform to bring together individuals, organisations, social businesses and the media to create a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence around menstrual hygiene management
Member National Assembly Romina Khurshid Alam, who was the chief guest, said , “It’s heartening to see that both civil society and the government are coming together to shape up a better society. The issue is not openly discussed, it is the time that more voices join the cause to create a better tomorrow”.
UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager Bella Evidente said, “In our society, menstruation is surrounded by stigma and misinformation and inadequate MHM directly affects a female’s self-esteem, health and education”.
She said MHM platform provided much needed spotlight on an issue which remained hushed up in many countries including Pakistan and as a result, the needs of women, especially in regards to sanitation, had never been brought to the forefront, and sadly, not all women had access to the tools they need to manage their menstrual cycles. “It is time that all sectors come together to break the silence around MHM by supporting strong policy implementation,” she said.
UNICEF representative Angela Kearney underscored the serious consequences of lack of proper hygiene management facilities on young girls. “It is unfortunate and unacceptable that the management of menstruation continues to present significant challenges for women especially in lower income settings. Adolescent girls bear most of this brunt as they lack the knowledge and services to manage menstruation which their learning experiences,” she said
She added that research showed that marginalised girls could miss up to two to four consecutive days of schools every four weeks due to their periods. This of course has serious implications on their learning.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2016.