Anglogold Ashanti Ghana, Obuasi Mine plans to distribute over 10,000 sanitary pads to school girls in Obuasi.
This, according to the Social Development and Gender Superintendent of the Mine, Mavis Nana Yaa Kyei, is part of their plans to bridge the inequality gap and end menstrual poverty.
Speaking at a programme held in Obuasi to commemorate this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day, Mrs. Kyei said AngloGold Ashanti is partnering the German development cooperation , Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to undertake the programme which is targeting girls from over 20 schools in Obuasi by the end of the year.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) at a global level.
It was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2014. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030”.
Anglogold Ashanti through its partner institutions like GIZ and AGA Health Foundation organised a segregated health education for both boys and girls as well as video show on menstruation for six schools in both the Obuasi Municipal and the Obuasi East District. The beneficiary schools were: Owusu Sampa JHS, Islamic Educational complex, Nana Ponko JHS, Binsere JHS and Dokyiwaa JHS.
This, the Social Development and Gender Superintendent believed that intensifying awareness will help demystify the issue of menstruation and clear all misconceptions about it.
She said, “We at AngloGold Ashanti are deliberate in our efforts to create awareness on menstruation targeted at curing all the misconceptions, taboos about it and drum home the fact that menstruation is a normal development in the female anatomy”.
Currently, sanitary pads cost between GH¢15 to GH¢18 per pack in the Ghanaian market. This has made it difficult for the average Ghanaian girl to have access to it during their menstruation period. It is a common phenomenon to see girls abandon school during their menstrual periods.
To avert this, AngloGold Ashanti is keen on supplying school girls with sanitary towels on a pilot basis.
The programme, according to Mavis Nana Yaa Kyei, will be in full force in June with the focus on girls who will take part in the 2023 BECE.
“Fortunately, last year we did not record any female absentee in the BECE. Today, we have distributed more than 1000 sanitary pads, we are focused on ensuring that no girl stays at home as a result of menstruation.”
‘Boys must be educated on menstruation’
A midwife at the AngloGold Ashanti Health Foundation, Belinda Coleman, believed that it was important to extend education on menstrual hygiene to boys.
She opined that girls need support during the period of menstruation hence educating boys will forestall all forms of stigmatisation targeted at girls during that period.
“Today, we decided to bring the boys along to educate them to understand the issues of menstruation. This is intended to correct all forms of misconceptions about the subject and seek support for girls during their periods.”
Speaking with the media, the beneficiaries lauded AngloGold Ashanti for distributing free sanitary pads to them. They however called on government to support them by supplying free pads to them.
“As girls, we face challenges accessing sanitary pads during our menstruation. Our parents are not able to afford them. This is why we are calling on government to support us by distributing sanitary pads free of charge to school girls across the country.”