By Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
To commemorate 2021 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, the wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, at the weekend launched a Pad Bank, an initiative targeted at giving 3,000 sanitary pads to girls in secondary schools.
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Erelu Fayemi disclosed that plans were ongoing for local production of reusable pads in every local government in Ekiti State.
“A lot has been said on menstrual hygiene and how this is an issue that affects a lot of girls in our society. We have over 13 million out of school children in Nigeria and 60per cent are girls. There are many reasons why girls are not in school. Sometimes it’s due to security issues, poverty; early pregnancy; and a whole range of issues, but we are also aware that period poverty is also a factor.
“Now in our society today, there are many problems that we face. The pad bank resonated with me because this is one problem that we can fix. We might not be able to fix intractable poverty within a given period. We might not be able to fix a whole range of issues that keep us awake at night, but we can fix period poverty.
“This affects probably one out of every five girls or women, and it’s something that is not new. But in the year 2021, we should not find ourselves in a situation where poor girls or poor women have to results to using crude methods to address this issue.”
“A lady produced the reusable pads we are distributing, and we will bring her to Ekiti State to train people on production of the reusable pads in every local government”, the First Lady added.
Erelu Fayemi reiterated that the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum (NGWF) is working on a proposition with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to see how the accessibility of these products can be addressed so that the products are not out of reach of young girls and poor women.
“We are holding advocacy with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment to look into the issue of taxation on menstrual hygiene products because we strongly believe that there should be no taxation on menstrual hygiene products. And even if there should be any tax, it should be heavily subsidized. If condoms can be free via our interventions on HIV/AIDS, then menstrual hygiene products should be free as well or heavily subsidized,” she affirmed.
She stated that the project was sponsored by her friends and Procter and Gamble, who donated thousands of their sanitary pad products.
Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji who represented the State Governor, said Ekiti State Government was yet to support the programme but promised that a budgetary provision will be made for the initiative.