Calls have been intensified in recent times for government to make sanitary pads accessible and affordable to girls especially in the rural areas.
Latest to add their voices to the calls are two women support groups based in Obuasi Gold City Mummies and Girls Shall Grow.
On the back of the current hike in prices of goods and services, concerns have been raised about the surge in the price of sanitary pads, which are sold at GH¢15 from GH¢8, in the beginning of the year.
At an empowerment session organised by the two Non-Governmental Organisations at Jimiso in the Obuasi East District, President of Gold City Mummies Rosemary Ampofo- Bekoe expressed worry about the difficulties girls go through to maintain menstrual hygiene due to their inability to access sanitary pads during menstruation.
She added that some of the barriers preventing girls from reaching their full potential include but not limited to poverty, child marriages, gender-biased violence, lack of support and poor menstrual hygiene.
Whiles calling on government for support, Mrs. Ampofo-Bekoe also appealed to other NGOs to put more effort into acquisition of sanitary pads for girls especially those in the rural areas.
“After our interaction with the girls and teachers, we realised that most girls absent themselves from school during that period of the month. Their parents are not able to buy sanitary pads for them on consistent basis. In view of this, we are appealing to Government to include the provision of sanitary pads as part of the interventions it has rolled out at the basic education level.”
The Gold City Mummies presented sanitary pads to 100 girls from the Jimiso Kakraba Methodist School, Ayease and Diawuoso schools.
The gesture, according to Mrs Ampofo-Bekoe, was to encourage the girls to be more confident and adopt healthier lifestyles and be purpose driven.
She lauded their sponsors – Bingodee Company Ltd, Bachor and Jonas company Ltd, Kilon Construction and Kenzad Company Ltd – for their support.
Ruth Ofori, the Headmistress of Jimiso Basic School, added her voice to the challenges girls in her school go through to access sanitary pads.
She revealed that most girls either absent themselves from school or do not participate fully in activities of the school during menstruation.
She, however, called on government to intervene by making the pads accessible for the girls.
Teenage Pregnancy prevalent
The Executive Director of Girls Shall Grow, Louisa Amoah, bemoaned the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the Ashanti Region especially in rural communities.
She described the situation as worrying stressing that, young girls have had to drop out of school as a result of teenage pregnancy.
“My NGO and I have always seized opportunities like today, to encourage the young girls to prioritize their education and eschew all forms of practises that will lead to unwanted pregnancies at this level. The situation is dire and we all need to do more to change the dynamics.”
Nana Asamoah Adam Adabor II, Odikro of Jimiso, in an interview confirmed that teenage pregnancy has been on the ascendancy in the village, stressing that Nananom have decided to launch a campaign against the menace in a bid to keep the girls in school.
Topics discussed at the empowerment session included breast cancer prevention, teenage pregnancy and menstrual hygiene.