The coalition on Menstrual Hygiene is asking government to consider in the coming days, the incorporation of either a free sanitary towel supply or support system as part of the free SHS policy to ensure that girls are not left behind in the attainment of equal access to free and quality education.
According to the coalition, the lack of proper sanitary facilities for girls to use during their menstrual periods in schools has become a drawback to government's flagship drive.
The situation, they argue is making it difficult for many school girls to take full advantage of the Free Education policy and for those in lower levels to stay in school during their Menstrual periods.
As Ghana joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Menstrual Hygiene Day, convener of the Coalition, Awo Aidam Amenyah, in a release, says government could make the free SHS policy more meaningful to girls in schools by providing support systems to girls in the form of the provision of sanitary towels.
“The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019—It's Time for Action—not only emphasizes the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to empower the world’s women and girls and unlock their economic and educational opportunities,” she explained.
According to UNICEF, 1 out of 10 girls in Sub-Saharan African miss school during menstruation, thus missing a fifth of the academic year. Aside this, there has only been a marginal improvement ever since, a study conducted by WaterAid for example shows that as a result of menstruation, 95% of girls failed to attend school during their periods.
The Coalition also wants the 20% tax regime on sanitary towels and the classification of such a basic need as luxury product be immediately scraped or significantly reduced.
Faith based organizations including churches and mosques, the group is entreating to increase their partnership with NGOs to collectively reach out to less-privileged school girls who are being deprived of education simply because of a natural cycle which ushers them into womanhood.
The group further urged the Women’s Caucus in Parliament, through its chairperson Hon. Sarah Adjoa Sarfo who doubles as Deputy Majority Leader to facilitate legislations that will seek to check gender inequalities which exist in such unnoticeable forms as identified above.
“We would not hesitate to share our ideas with them in this regard,” she noted.
The Coalition has commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals for demonstrating considerable commitment in not only fulfilling quality education requirements under SDG 4, but also championed the precepts of Ghana's 1992 constitution by ensuring that education is made as practicably free as possible.