President Julius Maada Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio commemorate Menstrual Hygiene Day and launch 2022 free sanitary pad distribution.

Freetown City Council Auditorium, 2 June 2022 His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio joined First Lady Fatima Bio to commemorate International Menstrual Hygiene Day and start the 2022 free sanitary pad distribution for school going girls across the country.

James Riak Mathiang, country director for GOAL Sierra Leone, said his organisation had improved WASH facilities. He said that menstruation hygiene was not just a basic aspect of healthcare delivery, but also a WASH practise.

Girls and women require secure WASH facilities, inexpensive menstrual hygiene items, community leadership, knowledge on good practise, and a stigma-free environment.

Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, UN Resident Coordinator, praised the First Lady’s transformational leadership in enhancing women’s and girls’ menstruation health in Sierra Leone.

He praised the government’s dedication to ensure that no one is left behind in the country’s development strategy by implementing reproductive education, health, and rights programmes.

Deborah Macauley, a student at Methodist Girls’ High School, thanked the President and his administration and called the First Lady a devoted mother.

Before the campaign, the nation was notorious for high reported occurrences of rape, teenage pregnancies, and early marriages, but the First Lady’s visits to schools, districts, and regions restored the dreams of every female child.

First Lady Fatima Bio thanked President Bio for allowing women to be part in the development process. She commended him for being unselfish and a genuine father to the children of Sierra Leone by giving free sanitary pads and education.

She urged the males to let the girls reach their full potential, be educated, be free, and feel comfortable in their circumstances. She thanked donor partners for supplying sanitary pads for the girls.

In his statement, President Julius Maada Bio said he was pleased to join the First Lady, development partners, and fellow Sierra Leoneans to commemorate International Menstrual Hygiene Day. He added that it was another historic opportunity to reflect on successes so far and make firm commitments to the campaign they started together years ago.

Menstrual health needs greater action. Schools and communities should teach menstruation hygiene. Change ignorance and bad views about menstruation. Fear, stigma, and humiliation connected with periods shouldn’t hinder girls from attending to school, pursuing vocational education, playing sports, and participating fully in public and social activities.

 We overturned the restriction on pregnant girls in school because we think every girl, rich, poor, rural, or disabled, has the right to study and succeed. Equally, we’ve implemented sexuality education in schools so girls know their bodies.

“My government wants to cooperate with development partners to make hygiene kits free for schoolgirls and cheap for women. Safe use and disposal of these goods should be linked to WASH facilities, particularly for schoolgirls. 

We want to engage with development partners to establish secure and exclusive WASH facilities at schools serving females so they can take care of themselves away from home, he added.

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