Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region 6 Narindra Persaud on Friday revealed that the region has seen a “great deal” of absenteeism in female students as a result of an inaccessibility to sanitary napkins, while lauding the First Lady’s Mentstrual Hygiene Initiative.
Persaud, in a brief interview on the sidelines of the launching event at the Skeldon Line Path Secondary School, highlighted that reports received by his office indicate that many school girls, during their menstrual cycles, usually stay away from classes because of the inability to access these vital resources. This, he acknowledges, is now in the process of being curbed due to the initiative by the Office of the First Lady.
“Over the years, we’ve had a great deal of absenteeism whenever girls get their periods and they cannot afford pads, they are forced to stay home. So this definitely will increase the attendance of our girls in high school,” he explained.
The REO went on to say that this initiative will not only benefit the young women academically, but is obviously an important health benefit as well. “In the olden days and in the absence of [sanitary napkins], the women would use cloths…and so the hygiene aspect of it, [preventing] infections…so not only in the academic journey but health wise this can help,” Persaud noted.
First Lady Arya Ali in her address at the Region 6 launching revealed that more than 4,000 girls from the region will be able to benefit through the provision of one year’s worth of sanitary napkins.
Ali said that the initiative started when she learnt that girls were even leaving school because they had no access to these necessary items. “Last year when I learnt that girls were dropping out of school because of issues surrounding menstrual hygiene, my heart broke. You are the future leaders of this country. At no point should you have to choose between having an education, and staying home because of not having access to menstrual sanitation,” she said.
The First Lady is expected to continue these distributions in other regions of the country in the coming weeks.