By Luminous Jannamike
In spite of the harsh economic realities facing most Nigerians especially rural women and girls, Nollywood Diva Tonto Dikeh has admonished her female fans to take their menstrual health seriously, saying poverty is not an excuse to be dirty during menses.
The controversial actress spoke at an awareness campaign by Miss Health pageant group in collaboration with Tonto Dikeh Foundation which held at the Anglican Girls Grammar School, Abuja.
According to Tonto Dikeh a.k.a King Tonto, lack of money shouldn’t be an obstacle to healthy living as far as is concerned.
She said, “I am a woman. I bleed every month and I am super proud of it. I don’t know why you should be ashamed of something so amazing.
“But, menstruation on its own can cause diseases, if not handled well. A lot of girls, because of excessive cost, cannot afford sanitary towels.
“However, poverty shouldn’t be an obstacle to healthy living when a lady is having her menses.
While sanitary towels may be expensive for many, there are washable and reusable towels that even those in the rural areas can use effectively.
“Habits like regular baths and proper disposal of menstrual waste is something anyone can do with little or no money because periods can be more dangerous if not properly taken care of.”
The screen goddess also advised men and boys to understand that though menses may not appeal to them, it is not enough reason to profile and shame female folks during their periods.
Speaking also, an expert on feminine health matters, Dr. Nkasiobi Nebo, stressed that menstrual health hygiene management should involve getting all stakeholders on the table to have a discussion about stigmatization.
According to her, “a lot of women in the rural communities are still been isolated during menses, and looked upon as ‘unclean’, this is wrong.”
On her part, the reigning Miss Health Africa, Queen Ivory Chidi, said the essence of the campaign is to say no to period stigmatization, shaming and profiling of women and girls especially during their menses.
“These issues are causing a lot of teenage girls to stay out of school, and many women to stay isolated throughout their periods.
“It is time for action towards addressing this public health issue and to ensure womenbamd girls can feel comfortable to achieve their potentials,” she said.