Period poverty is one of the topics that is hardly talked about in Nigeria. However, it is a time bomb that is lying to explode if not detonated. Period poverty is a term that explains the struggles of the girl child who has no or very little access to sanitary products as well as enough information about their menstrual health.
A report from the International Centre for Investigative Reporting as of 2021 showed that in Nigeria, over 37 million women and girls of reproductive age, lack access to menstrual hygiene products due to a lack of funds. The lack of accessibility of young ladies to products they need while menstruating has resulted in poor hygiene management, hence a reason for high rates of infections among them.
Poor hygiene or menstrual management could result in infections which include Urinary Tract infections (UTIs), Yeast Infections, and Reproductive Tract Infections amongst others. Once the infections stay long unattended, it could result in infertility. These infections come with a lot of discomfort which is mostly almost unbearable for these girls.
Sometimes, these girls’ lack of access to sanitary products keeps them away from school. Not using the right product causes some of them to have unpleasant odors and so they are unable to move freely. They are unable to participate in the normal daily activities they should participate in. As a result of period poverty, many girls in Nigeria are always in discomfort while menstruating. For these girls, it is either they do not have an idea of what to use or they do not have the resources to get sanitary products.
When these girls get a lot of discomfort because they do not have sanitary products, they result in asking guys who in turn take advantage of their vulnerable state. Some of them are introduced into all manner of vices to get money to buy sanitary products. They are always very vulnerable to males who offer help to them with bad intentions. They educate the girls wrongly and get them involved in sexual activities with them while painting the acts as forms of help to the girls.
It is hurtful that girls go through unpalatable moments because of a normal biological process. The menstrual cycle of a girl is one she has no control over. She only has a grasp over how well she manages, however, the grasp becomes weak when she does not have what it takes to manage her menstrual cycle.
The effect of period poverty is rippling, so people should not look away from it. The struggles that come with the inability to get what they need for their menstrual cycles affect the girls physically and mentally. This menace needs to be looked into and eradicated in the system. The provision of products and also sensitization to these girls will go a long way in curbing Period Poverty.