Edo Community Tasks Government, Others on Provision of Sanitary Pads Box in Schools, Worship Centres

By Uangbaoje Alex

Stakeholders in Okpokhumi Community in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State, has tasked Governments at all levels, Religious and Corporate Organizations and Well meaning individuals in the Country to as a matter of urgency commence the provision of Sanitary pads box project in Schools, worship centres and other public places.

According to the stakeholders, during a one-day Community Outreach on “Covid-19 Realities: Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Gender Based Violence (Domestic Violence), Water Sanitation and Hygiene Information and Services” the project if embark upon, would improved the hygiene of women, especially young girls.

The Outreach was organized by Society to Heighten Awareness of Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA) in partnership with the Edo State Covid-19 Civil Society Organization (CSO) working group, with participants from religious and traditional leaders, community people, health experts and CSOs.

The stakeholders in their resolution said, “sanitary pads box project should commence in all schools and churches, bore holes should be sunk as well to encourage a continuous hygienic process.

“The need to increase the hygienic practices in schools and churches became necessary when we discovered that some students miss classes during menstrual flow and are unable to catch up with the lessons they have missed.

“Some churches and schools go ahead to provide places of convenience but fail to provide a proper disposal for those that needs to change up their pads during school and church hours. We call on government and religious bodies to ensure that there is mechanism for proper menstrual hygiene management. The above should be penned down and acted upon.”

On the Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world, the stakeholders urged governments to collaborate with other organizations and CSOs working in the health sector on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) care and messaging for children and caregivers affected by COVID-19 or any other health related issues. These actions they say could hasten the healing process of the victims and survivals and quicken their reintegration or return to normal social life.

They said reality of Covd-19 will sink down properly with those at the rural communities when the message is taken down to their base and level, adding, “that more measures are put in place to increase palliative support of citizens in order for the home stay and safe keeping to be effective. This can be by granting tax cuts to small and medium enterprises, soft loans for businesses and start ups, free electricity supply for three months and so on.

“That government should as a matter of urgency begin to implement the full weight of the violence against persons (VAP) Law to curtail the increase of all forms of violence a gainst persons during this lock down.

“We call out for a quick and decisive action by government to not only prioritize reproductive health services, but to lift legal and clinical barriers to reproductive health. Collaborate with CSO’s for continuous creation of awareness and sensitization on SRHR to be done not only in urban suburbs, but also in the rural areas having in mind the constraint (e.g. language barrier, finances) rural dwellers may have been facing in times past.

“We strongly recommend that all forms of gender abuse or gender violence be promptly reported to the appropriate authorities. The channels of reporting such issues should be very flexible and varied (either in person or electronically) so that victims and survivals should not be placed at further risk when speaking out.

“Also, the state government should demand the commissioners at different agencies to admonish officers of the law to avoid negligence and delays in responses to avoid death of victims.

Initiator of SOTHAWCA, Ronke Ojeikere, who was the brain behind the Community Outreach, had in her opening remarks said the team came to the community with a mandate to mobilize them and make speak out and also take action.

She noted the stakeholders and professionals were brought to the community to enlighten the community members of the dangers and present realities of Covid-19, as well as other sundry issues like water sanitation and hygiene informati baion practices, Gender Based Violence (domestic violence), Child Abuse and sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR).

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