(TheAfricanDream.net) — Daisy Mina Antwi, founder of Goldcoast Literacy Program (GLP) – a nonprofit organization, has created a petition over the hiking prices of sanitary towels in Ghana, citing living standards of rural community residents.
Her organisation has dedicated itself to improving children’s literacy and changing the educational narrative in slums and rural Ghana over the past years.
Daisy’s personal experience with how rural residents go through menstrual cycles gave her organisation an added focus, particularly with young schoolchildren and women.
“We all know that GLP is more focused on education and sustainability in the rural communities of Ghana. But for the past few years, we have been taking along sanitary towels to all of our outreaches even when we know we are engaging children who are yet to menstruate,” Daisy said in a statement to theafricandream.net
“We try to take about 2 or 3 boxes of sanitary towels to each outreach that we run, and get our volunteers to take them through using sanitary towels,” she added.
However, she claims that this is only a small fraction of what is required to maintain community awareness of good menstrual hygiene. Her main concern is the cost of sanitary towels, particularly for “heavy bleeders,” like her.
“Just last month I went to get a sanitary towel for my monthly cycle, to my surprise, a pack was sold at 15 cedis, my dears. For someone like me who change my sanitary towels regularly, I end up buying 2 sanitary towels for 30 cedis,” she said.
“Now I am here asking myself, that if me, someone who is working is finding it difficult in purchasing 30 cedis a pack, what about someone in the rural communities, someone in the slum or a young teenager who has just sprout up, who cannot afford sanitary towels, what do you think they will resort to?”
According to Daisy’s petition campaign, girls and women who can manage their periods with safe sanitary products are less likely to contract infections.
In a statement to theafricandream.net she emphasized that if they can’t have access to these safe sanitary products, “they will start using napkins, papers which is not hygienic; which I believe if they continue, they could get an infection that could affect them as women or as young people.”
Some infections according to her may have a domino impact on some aspects of their sexual and reproductive health, such as urinary and reproductive tract infections, which can cause infertility in the future or complicate childbirth.
Infections like hepatitis B and thrush can also spread if hands are not washed after changing menstruation products.
These have been Daisy’s major concern, because the prices of sanitary products in Ghana are increasing the chances of these infections.
Her plea for support through the petition has been directed to the Ghanaian government because they are “saying that the increase in prices is because of the taxes. Can we just scrap the taxes, can sanitary towels go back to normal prices?”
Daisy asserted that many women if they can avoid their menstrual cycle will gladly do so because “women, girls don’t choose to menstruate, if we can, I think some of us wouldn’t menstruate at all.”
In her view, standing up and helping women through their menstrual cycle, especially those in rural communities will create a nondiscriminatory, gender-neutral atmosphere where women’s needs and voices are heard.
Moreover, providing them with relevant sanitary products will protect their physiological integrity, privacy, and self-worth.
“We don’t choose this, it’s part of how God made us, and… and sanitary towels for 15 cedis? This is not even a supermarket, or a mall, this is a wayside vendor,“ she said.
“Please join my petition; it’s either the government make sanitary towels for free, at least for children of school going age or they scrap the taxes and their prices go back to normal.”
You can join Daisy in signing the Menstruation Chose Us petition using THIS LINK.
Written by Arakunrin Lekan, edited by Oral Ofori