A women led network from Peshawar, demands the Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to recognize menstrual health and hygiene as public health issues and make efforts for awareness raising around it.
The members of the Mentrual Hygiene and Gender Justice Network, the first young women-led network in KP aiming to advocate around the issues related to women’s health and promoting girls’ economic rights, made the demand after a discussion.
The members demanded the integration of menstrual management into public health campaigns and urged the Government to accelerate and intensify awareness-raising to mitigate social taboos; and recognize the linkages between Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), girls education, gender and nutrition sectors to improve gender equality across the sectors.
Syeda Mahnoor Shah, leading member of the Network said “ Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) plays a vital role in menstrual hygiene management and can either help or hinder women’ healthy and dignified management of their menstruation.”
“It’s imperative to improve WASH facilities to elevate and advance menstrual hygiene management for women and girls by ensuring that policies, campaigns and programs promote both gender equality and women-friendly infrastructure.” She added.
Sidra Batool, Lecturer and member of the Network said “We need to establish support mechanisms at community level through the formation of WASH clubs, women and girls groups, involving local community health workers to facilaite adequate information and social support for adolescent girls to enable them utilie their full potential.”
Yumna Aftab, BS Student and Network member said “Girls need accurate information and improved sanitation facilities in schools, to manage their hygiene, particularly during their menstrual period. Lack of information about menstruation hygiene put young girls in shock, stress and discomfort and sometimes becomes the reason of absentissm and drop out.”
The Network demanded that civil society, government officials, authorities, healthcare professionals, educators, professional organizations, NGOs, patient organizations, industry and other key stakeholders in Pakistan must actively collaborate to tackle the issues equitably and effectively .