Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Poor schoolgirls in Ghana: sanitary protection boosts girls' schooling

In the latest edition of Oxford Today, the University Magazine (Volume 22 Number 3, Trinity 2010), there is an article on a new study concerning sanitary protection in Ghana. This study was carried out by social scientists at Oxford led by Professor Linda Scott of the Said Business School with Professor Sue Dopson, Dr Catherine Dolan and Dr Paul Montgomery. 

The team discovered that girls in Ghana were missing schooling as a result of poor provision for menstruation. Poor schoolgirls in Ghana, apparently, cannot afford sanitary towels so they use rags instead. As many schools do not have toilets suitable for changing or washing these rags/improvished pads,  poor schoolgirls decide not to attend during their menstrual period.

By supplying free sanitary pads it was found that absenteeism was cut by more than fifty per cent. It is stated, in the magazine:

Qualitatively, almost all the girls using pads reported that they were better able to concentrate at school, and  better able to socialise, participate in sport and help at home. They also reported a reduced sense of embarrassment, shame or isolation.

This study was well funded and supported.  Procter &  Gamble provided the sanitary pads. Hats off to all concerned!

My home church has links with Ghana.  I wish to share the findings of this study with members and regular worshippers of  the congregation who have been to Ghana in a mission context.  One man found the article interesting but would not pass it on to his daughter, who has visited Ghana, because he thought it was "inappropriate".  To me, that's sad.

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