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Education Ministry urges partners to prioritize menstrual health

By Emelda Siama John Lopula

Ministry of General Education and Instruction has urged the development partners to integrate menstrual health into their programs.

As a development partners focus on climate change, humanitarian responses, mental health interventions, livelihood programs, health programs, and agriculture among others menstrual health is left unattended.

The ministry stressed that menstruation is never a stand-alone matter, as poor menstrual health management can affect productivity in any sector, not just sexual and reproductive health.

This concern comes in the wake of commemorating International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023 under the theme, “We are committed to making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030.”

The Director General of Gender, Equity, and Inclusive Education at the Ministry of General Education, Esther Akumu, emphasized the need to consider menstrual health, as a priority.

She stressed that unlimited resources should be made available to end period poverty, improve livelihood, increase school retention, and promote proper menstrual health for everyone.

“If you come together to accelerate action in normalizing menstrual health in South Sudan, we shall have a country where no girl or woman is shamed, discriminated, assaulted, stigmatized, forcefully married, or isolated just because they menstruate,” she stressed.

Mrs. Akumu called on actors in South Sudan to engage in a joint and collaborative advocacy towards making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030.

“We called on all the partners, parents, traditional, and religious leaders to commit to action on menstrual health management to ensure that women and girls of menstruating age are supported” Akumu appealed.

She urged development partners, and communities to break the taboos, take concrete action to ensure discriminatory mindsets are changed and menstrual health is protected.

According to Mrs. Akumu, harmful socio-cultural norms, stigma, misconceptions, and taboos around menstruation continue discrimination and exclude women as well as girls, in society.

She underlined that the stigma and shame generated by stereotyping around menstruation have a severe impact on all aspects of live of women and girls.

“Rights to equality, health, water, and sanitation, education, work, freedom of religion or belief, safe and healthy working conditions, and to take part in cultural and public life without discrimination” she noted.

In 2019 survey on MHM, sanitary infrastructure and equipment in schools are at a rate of 37% of the schools where girls reported the existence of a place to change sanitary materials and wash their bodies.

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