Donors and health professionals in Cameroon distributed disposable sanitary products to several hundred underprivileged girls uprooted by extremism and the country’s separatist issue for World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Saturday. Some of the girls stated that it was their first time seeing sanitary pads. Sensitization teams are also striving to persuade communities to cease stigmatizing girls who get their periods.
Hundreds of girls uprooted by the separatist turmoil in Cameroon’s British western regions have been given reusable sanitary products, pants, soap, and buckets at Yaounde’s schools and public areas.
Donor groups and the government handed the “dignity kits” on Saturday as part of The worldwide Menstrual Hygiene Day programs to help women and girls keep good hygiene.
Ernestine Mbih, 14, was one of the hundreds of girls who received dignity kits. She said she was evacuated by separatists from Babanki, a village in Cameroon’s British North-West region. Mbih was talking on behalf of the young women who got the kits.
“We used to worry about where we would find money to buy [sanitary] pads somewhere at end of each month, but now that we have this pad that we will use for a year, we are overjoyed,” she said. “It will lower the chances of some girls becoming pregnant for the first time when they go forth to obtain money for a pad.” As a result, we are truly grateful that they may have brought us the most basic items that ladies and young girls require.”
Mbih claims that some girls turn to prostitutes before their menstrual flow reaches a level where they can afford $3 in sanitary pads.
Welisane Mokwe Nkeng, the organizer of the International Menstrual Hygiene Coalition, said that girls and women displaced by Cameroon’s separatist conflict live in harsh circumstances, lack sanitary towels, and require education on how to manage their periods.
“Menstrual hygiene teaching has been a taboo subject, and many individuals (girls and women) are unaware of how to control their periods, therefore education is critical,” she said. “Second, we’re doing it because of the unconventional techniques that young females take to mitigate their periods, particularly during this moment of displacement.” Many of them pad themselves with grass, old clothes, leaves, and other items, so we felt compelled to provide them with a healthier option that would restore their rights and confidentiality.”
Nkeng said from Adagom, a Nigerian village 60 kilometers from Cameroon’s border with Nigeria, where her coalition is giving hygiene kits to evacuated Cameroonians.
Many Cameroonians demonize girls and women through their menstrual period, according to officials. According to the authorities, males force their wives to spend the night on the floor during their periods because they believe menstruation is bad luck.
The government and its allies must persuade communities to cease stigmatisation females during their periods, according to Josephine Nsono, a female expert in Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon’s English-speaking North-West region.
“This girl had a heavy period and her clothes became stained, and instead of drawing her attention and supporting her in a polite manner, people jeer, and it becomes so alienating that someone feels ashamed instead of feeling dignified that I am a woman experiencing a natural phenomena,” she said. “Some men simply overwhelm their wives because they don’t take the time to learn about menstrual hygiene.”
Cameroon claims to be constructing suitable improved sanitation in education and community spaces so that women and girls do not have trouble controlling their periods.
According to the United Nations, World Menstrual Hygiene Day is marked on May 28th since menstrual cycles last an average of 28 days. May was chosen since it is the fifth month of each year, and females have five days of period on average each month, according to the website.
According to the United Nations, the goal of the day is to promote the idea that period is a biological occurrence, so that females can menstruation begins without fear or shame, and without exposing themselves to additional risks. The day also brings attention to the poor’s inability to buy menstrual supplies.