LAHORE: Women constitute 52 per cent of the population in Pakistan and 26 per cent of them are in reproductive age. A majority of these women do not have access to safe sanitary practices, speakers at a seminar on Wednesday said.
The event titled: Breaking the Silence on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club.
“The time has come to promote MHM and to break the myths regarding menstruation to promote personal hygiene, empower women, and promote educational and professional development,” the speakers said.
Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, the population welfare minister, said: “Special days are a fact of life. It is a distinct biological female attribute that women should not be ashamed of. Girls should be encouraged to talk and discuss this in an informed and positive manner to prepare them for it emotionally and physically.”
Khalil Tahir Sindhu, the human rights minister, said that the government was focusing on health of young girls.
Siddiq Ahmad Khan, the WaterAid country representative, said: “MHM is not an issue that can be overlooked. It is important to recognise that this affects women and girls’ health, dignity and confidence, as well as their participation in education, the community and the economy.”
Shahnaz Rahat Kapadia, the Livelihood Employment and Enterprise Development (LEED) senior group head, said that MHM could have a strong impact on girls’ education.
“Besides the health problems due to poor hygiene during menstruation, the lack or un-affordability of facilities and appropriate sanitary products may push menstruating girls temporarily or sometimes permanently out of school,” he said.
Mubarak Ali Sarwar, the AGAHE CEO, said that the government, media, academia, legislators and civil society organisations should jointly work over the issue of MHM.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2015.