A group, Health Aid For All Initiative (HAFAI) has begun teaching women in rural areas of Abuja how to make sanitary pads that can be washed and re-used.HAFAI began its advocacy and education programme on menstrual health hygiene to mark the International Women’s Day in Pyape II, a community near Nyanya, Abuja.HAFAI founder, Dr Ugochi Ohajuruka, who is also Nigeria’s country director for Days for Girls International - a movement dedicated to ensure that girls do not miss days of school because they are having their monthly period said it was targeting areas that were mostly rural, deprived of basic amenities and where women could not 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,” she said.Grace Reuben, secretary of the women’s grouping in Pyape II, said many women were turning away from using sanitary pads commercially available in drug stores and pharmacies because they were inadequate to manage flow especially for 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 are not good enough. Imagine when a woman is a heavybleeder. 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,” she said.