Period during a pandemic: The neglected reality of Nigerian girls and women

Elsevier, Public Health in Practice, Volume 2, November 2021
Odey G.O., Amusile O., Oghenetejiri P.O., David S., Adi A., Lucero-Prisno D.E.
Underneath the façade of supposedly bubbly girls, living daily lives in many parts of Nigeria lies the problem of lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene management tools or kits. From schools to business places, religious organizations amongst others, a hive of women and girls face the harsh reality of inability to manage their periods due to poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, common in many low- and middle-income countries of which Nigeria sits top. The issue of privacy and dignity during menstruation is still one area in which women and girls in Nigeria are failed every day. All of these further taking a toll on the emotional life, education, productivity of the girl child amongst others. The pandemic further impedes the ability/efforts of non-governmental organizations hitherto saddled with the responsibility of tutoring young girls in mostly rural and underserved communities the art of making re-useable pads to address the challenge of period poverty. Deep-seated Menstrual taboos, common among many Nigerian tribes have also served as major setbacks to proper menstrual hygiene management. With all of these, the period poverty struggle, made worse by poor water sanitation and hygiene facilities in Nigerian communities continues. There is still an urgent need to increase sensitization, and advocacy to break menstrual taboos, reduce cost and improve access to menstrual hygiene products and facilities especially following the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant overbearing effects.