Kenya Ministry of Health through her Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki revealed to the public that a Teachers’ Handbook on menstrual hygiene was coming soon. She said this on May 28 which marked the International Menstrual Hygiene Day dedicated to creating awareness of the importance of good menstrual hygiene management. The handbook is to guide teachers in educating the girl child about menstruation and how to maintain good hygiene as part of the new school curriculum. The production of the teachers’ handbook is an initiative in partnership with Unicef, NGO’s and members from the private sector.
It’s amazing to see that the world has woken up to educate the masses about this sensitive yet global issue. So many girls can identify with the fact that menstruation is not something that they are comfortable discussing. And in Kenya among many countries, whenever a girl gets her first period, it brings mixed feelings of joy because she is considered to have reached marriageable age and fear of being considered impure and what the future holds for her. It’s that time when a girl keeps to herself in fear of getting ashamed in case anything went amiss. Very few have had the privilege to learn and understand how to attend to themselves hygienically.
However, thanks to strong women like Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and all the partnering bodies for embarking on a mission to end the era of ignorance on matters menstrual hygiene. Recently, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the Menstrual Health Management Program in partnership with the Kenya Redcross. So far so good, the national initiative of free sanitary towel distribution has reached more than 11 million primary school girls. All 47 county governments and the County First Ladies Association have agreed to allocate KSh500, 000 to address menstrual hygiene across the counties.
Lamu woman representative Ruweida Obbo started her campaign ‘Keeping girls in school,’ to support the education of the Lamu girl child in every way she can. “With the momentum increasing in Kenya, more practical, holistic and cost-effective solutions should be realized by involving different ministries, multi-sectorial partners, private sectors and civil society from national, county to community level,” Sicily said.
This is a call to every responsible citizen to take the leap, break the silence, and build awareness at whatever level we are in society. Every Girl deserves to have menstrual dignity during those days. Spread the good news and keep in mind, “It takes a village to raise a child!” #Rewordit.