Women in Ghana have been advised to avoid using sanitary pads for more than four hours during menstruation since it has some health consequences. It has been observed that many young ladies particularly school girls in the country use only one menstrual pad as long as eight hours before changing due to thrifty reasons and unavailability of changing rooms in Schools.
However, according to the Gender and Influencing Specialist with Plan International Ghana, Lilian Bruce, the practice is unhealthy. She explained women are more susceptible to infections in the vagina during menstruation because once menstrual blood has left the body, it gets contaminated with the body’s innate organisms. She said a damp pad, therefore, becomes breeding grounds for organisms to multiply which could lead to vaginal and urinary tract infection and skin rashes.
She, therefore, advises that changing pad at regular intervals during menstruation is recommended regardless of the quantity of blood flow-light or heavy. “Women are more vulnerable to bacterial infections during menstruation. Therefore it is important to practice high level of hygiene. During your menstrual cycle, change pad at regular intervals and avoid using one pad for more than 3 or 4 hours. It is not good to wear a pad the whole day regardless of how the flow is or the quantity of blood the pad absorbs. Discard used sanitary pad properly as it may become a breeding ground for bacteria and infections. Wash your hands every time you change your sanitary pad or use the toilet”
Lilian Bruce said this when Plan International Ghana through its RWASH and Menstrual Hygiene Management Education program donated free Sanitary pads to some school children in rural parts of Agona East District of the Central Region.
Many of the girls in the communities were found to either absent themselves from school when menstruating due to inability to buy sanitary pads or used unhygienic materials such as toilet roll and used cloth.
Judith – a form two pupil said she ” started menstruating at form one but sometimes if I tell my mother to buy pad for me she insults me so i save little little coins to buy pad every month”.
The Chief of Aboano, Nana Amo Mensah, commended Plan International Ghana for the intervention explaining that “I can’t exaggerate but sometimes when the children they get period and go to school they feel very sad. Because somebody may have pad but know that they have been thought how to use the pad and given free pads progress will come in their education”.
Project Manager at Plan International Ghana, William Domapielle said the NGO as part of the 2,247,500 Euros Plan Germany Funded Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project (RWASH) being implemented in Akuapem North Municipality and Okere in the Eastern, Agona East District in Central and Afadzato South District in Volta regions ,teenage School girls in the above beneficiary Districts will also be supplied free sanitary pads and be provided with girls friendly facilities such as changing rooms in their various schools to enhance menstrual hygiene to curb the “menstruation induced absenteeism “having effect on academic performance of young girls.
He said the RWASH project is expected to increase access to gender friendly water, sanitation facilities to promote hygiene for some 32,000 beneficiaries in the aforementioned districts at its completion in 2021.