Cameroon celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Saturday, with donors and health workers distributing reusable sanitary pads to several hundred poor girls displaced by terrorism and the country’s separatist crisis. Some girls said that they are seeing sanitary pads for the first time. Also, sensitization teams are working to convince communities to stop stigmatizing girls during menstruation.
Several hundred girls displaced by the separatist crisis in the English-speaking western regions of Cameroon have received reusable sanitary pads, pants, soap and buckets at schools and public places in the capital Yaounde.
Gifts called “Dignity Kits” were distributed on Saturday as part of World Menstrual Hygiene Day activities by donor agencies and the government to help women and girls maintain proper hygiene.
Among the several hundred girls who received the dignity kit was 14-year-old Ernestine Mbah, who said she had been displaced by separatists from Babunki, a town in Cameroon’s English-speaking north-west region. Mbih spoke on behalf of the girls who received the kit.
“At the end of every month we’re thinking about where we’ll get the money and buy [sanitary] pad, but now, with this pad that we are going to use for a year, we are very happy,” she said. “This will reduce the risk of some girls getting pregnant when they go out to get money to buy pads. So we are very grateful and we are grateful that they have brought us the most important things that we need as women and young girls.”
Mbih said some girls go out to prostitution before their monthly flow is able to raise about $3 to buy sanitary pads.
International Menstrual Hygiene Coalition Coordinator Veliseen Mokwe Nkeng said girls and women displaced by Cameroon’s separatist crisis live in desperate conditions, lack sanitary towels and need education to manage their periods.
“Education on menstrual hygiene has been a cool topic and many people (girls and women) do not know how to manage their periods, so education is very important,” she said. “Secondly, we are doing this because of the unconventional methods young girls use to manage their periods, especially during this time of displacement. Many of them use grass, dirty clothes, leaves and other things to pad themselves, and so we felt the need to give them an option that is healthy for them and which will restore their privacy and dignity. Are. ,
Nekeng spoke to Edgom, a Nigerian town 60 kilometers from the Cameroon-Nigeria border where his coalition is distributing sanitary kits to displaced Cameroonians.
Cameroonian authorities report that many Cameroonians stigmatize girls and women during menstruation. The government says that men force their wives to sleep on the floor during menstruation because of the misconception that menstruation brings bad luck.
Josephine Nsono, a gender expert in Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon’s English-speaking north-west region, said it was imperative for the government and its allies to persuade communities to stop stigmatizing girls and women during their periods.
“This girl had a heavy flow and her dress got stained and people look at it and instead of getting her attention and helping her in a very respectful way, people joke and it gets so tarnished that someone Instead of feeling very respected, I feel so ashamed that I am a woman and I am experiencing a natural phenomenon.” Don’t want to understand what menstrual hygiene is.
Cameroon says it is building adequate sanitation facilities in schools and public places so that women and girls do not face difficulties in managing their periods.
The United Nations says that World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed on 28 May because the menstrual cycle is on average 28 days long. It said that May was chosen because it is the fifth month of the year and girls and women menstruate an average of five days per month.
The United Nations says that this day is to advance the idea that menstruation is a biological process, so that girls and women can menstruate without fear or shame, and without being exposed to more vulnerabilities. The day also raises awareness about the inability of the poor to supply menstrual supplies.