Akpan Etukudoh Asare
Grassroots Gender Based Reporters (GGBR), a group of women’s wellbeing rights, has advocated the sale of male condoms as against menstrual pads.
This is even as the Cross River State co-ordinator of the group, Mrs. Florence Kekong emphasised the need to step this campaign and why lawmakers ought to legislate laws that allow the free distribution of menstrual pads.
In a meeting held in Calabar women activists as well as handful of men, insisted that condoms should be sold.
Kekong said, “We need to identify solutions to menstruation-related challenges, and change the narrative about periods.
“Menstruation comes with taboos and stigma. We must speak out boldly about menstruating. This is one way we can help the girl child. This is the time to help menstruating girls stay in school and not out of school because they are menstruating. How do we begin to get the free Pads is the reason we are brainstorming here and hoping that all members would be active participants. “
Mrs. Theresa James, another member said, “I support free menstrual pad, to help the young girls to avoid bacterias,which latter causes infections and other stuff which causes different kinds of sickness that later barriers child bearing in due course.
Pastor Joseph Akpata, an adviser to the group, also volunteered, “Condoms should be sold and pads should be given free. Sex is a choice menstruation is not. Young girls without money are suffering.
“We have had several agencies distributing condoms for free. Some parents even keep a pack in their children’s bags – since not all preach abstinence. Sanitary Pads should be sold and while Condom is given for free. How many girls or even their families can afford coat of pads monthly? How many families of two or three girls can afford this cost in our communities?
Akpara maintained that, “With a single bill from the National Assembly, the cost of menstrual pads can shift on the pleasure of condom.”
Another elderly respondent advised that “Menstrual hygiene is up to us to do our best and help those young adolescents around us with the right information. Not many parents or guardians can afford money for pad today but we’re all rich with old clothes.
“All the girl needs to know is use special pieces of cloth from her old dresses, wash, dry them in the sun and fold them well into her pants bag so that when the menses comes the improvised pad is handy. Please this is better than using tissue paper or newspapers. Please take pride in being woman with nothing to be ashamed of, right knowledge is power.”
GGBR is a group which takes information and education to the doorsteps of women, ensuring that women living in information-poor conditions also have access to information and services they need for enhanced likelihoods.