In furtherance of the celebration of the International Women’s Day, washable pads have been introduced by a group identified as Health Aid For All Initiative (HAFAI). The programme which is aimed at teaching rural women how to make sanitary pads which can be washed and reused have become necessary after many women in Nigeria are found to use cloths as sanitary pads.
HAFAI began its advocacy and education programme on menstrual health hygiene in Pyape II, a rustic community tucked behind rising hills deep inside Nyanya district of Abuja.
HAFAI founder, Dr Ugochi Ohajuruka, who is also Nigeria country director for Days for Girls International—a movement dedicated to ensure girls do not miss days of school because they are having a period—said it was targeting areas that were mostly rural, deprived of basic amenities and where women cannot get optimal hygiene for their health and well-being.
“These are the kind of places where women still give birth at home, and use rags and feather to manage their menstrual [flow],” said Ohajuruka, a public health practitioner.
The outreach at Pyape II gave out free sanitary pads, but its target is that teaching women to make washable sanitary pads for themselves out of local fabrics could also become a source of income for rural women.
The secretary of the women’s grouping in Pyape II, Mrs Grace Reuben said many women themselves were turning away from using sanitary pads commercially available in drug stores and pharmacies because they are inadequate to manage flow in mostly women who have heavy menstrual flows.
“They find pieces of rags or tear their wrappers and use,” Reuben explained, because it is difficult to get fresh pad once a used one is disposed of. “You can’t reuse it, and it is costly.”
“Sometimes the pads we buy outside is not good enough. Imagine when a woman is bleeds heavily . The pad is soaked before you know it, and you are outside. But with washable pads, even though it is soaked, and you are outside, you can easily remove it and replace it, wash and dry it.”