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Menstrual Hygiene Solutions: Kaduna Girls Take Action




Menstrual hygiene solutions: Kaduna girls take action

Adolescent girls in Kaduna State, North-West Nigeria are currently behind the sale of over 15,000 packs of reusable menstrual hygiene products worth N3.5 million, in a scheme that has become not only a means of livelihood for communities, but has also improved quality of life for the users.

The difficulties girls go through to get sanitary pads can only be imagined, especially so in rural communities or slums.

One of such areas where this challenge manifests is Rigasa; is a densely populated urban slum in the south west of Igabi Local Government Area in Kaduna State.

Mr Yusha’u Abubakar, Founder and Executive Director, Enhancing Communities Action for Peace and Better Health Initiative (E-CAPH), said the issue of sanitary pads was a challenge in the community because of poverty and lack of economic empowerment.

“When the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) called for an application for a project to support adolescent girls and boys, we decided to apply with focus on this area because it is a challenge.

“We sent our proposal and UNFPA found it worthy and supported us to train young girls in our community.”

He said 200 girls were trained on making reusable sanitary pads, adding that the initiative has improved school attendance of girls in the community as well as taken care of their menstruation hygiene challenges.

Impact of the training on the girls

Fatima Abdullahi, 18, is one those trained by E- CAPH and described the experience as overwhelming because she now produces it for her personal use and for trade.

“I was used to begging for money to buy pads or forced to use other materials in spite of its discomfort for my period. Now I help myself and others with my trade,” she said.

Similarly, Asma’u Mohammed, 18, said she was happy for the acquired skill that has made her self-reliant.

“With this, I don’t have to ask my parents for everything I need, because I can now earn little money by making sanitary pads for my peers.”

Sanitary pad boosting economic empowerment of the community

Albabatu Musa, Manager and Coordinator, E-CAPH Skills Acquisition Centre, said the accessibility of the reusable pad has made it a preferred choice for most girls in the Rigasa community.

“The reusable pad is made up of cotton-based materials because of its absorbable nature and easy access in the market.

“So far, 15,000 packs of three pieces each, have been produced at the centre and sold for N3.5 million to a client in Borno State.

“At the open market, a pack is sold for N500 and for every pack, there is a gain (profit) of N150. The product is in high demand,” she said.

Musa said the pad was highly profitable and cost effective because it can be used for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months.

“A pack of three go for N500 with a profit margin of N150. The trained adolescents were currently making the reusable pad for their personal use and sales.”

Support by the UNFPA in the Rigasa pad project

Ms Mariana Darboe, the Programme Coordinator and Head of Office, UNFPA Decentralised Office for Northern Nigeria, said the reusable sanitary pad project was part of the livelihood support training as a COVID-19 response to alleviate poverty in communities.

She said the project was supported by the funds Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) project under the UN Basket Fund support for COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

Darboe added that the RCCE initiative was to curb the risk and impact of gender-based violence and interconnecting sexual and reproductive health consequences.

A mother’s burden lifted

A mother of four, Sadiya Ibrahim, said the reusable sanitary pad had reduced her stress “because most times during their menstrual period I am helpless to help my four girls with the needed money to buy sanitary pads.

“Sometimes they feel uncomfortable saying that they are on their period, so they just use available pieces of clothes to help themselves.

“Whenever they use clothes, they spend most of their time in the room because it makes them uncomfortable.”

How we got the buy-in of the communities considering the religious and cultural challenges

In most communities in northern Nigeria, talking about reproductive health issues among women and young girls is considered a no-go area. E-CAPH executive director Abubakar said the initiative surmounted this major limitation and got the buy-in of the community through advocacy.

“We were able to make people understand what sexual and reproductive health issues are all about and the need for parents to talk to their children about sexual reproductive health issues.

“The religious and community leaders provided the platform for us to talk to young girls in Islamiyah schools, women groups gathered their children and invited us to talk to them.

“This strategy helped in increasing the acceptance of talking about the issues in communities where it is hitherto difficult to do so.”

How the girls monthly dilemma turns to joy

Some users of the sanitary pads narrated their experiences on how it changed their monthly dilemma to joy.

Kadijah Salis, 17: “I use pieces of clothes due to lack of money to buy a pad. Sometimes I am forced to stay at home to avoid embarrassment in school because most times the clothes leak and stain our uniforms.

“The reusable pad is the best thing that has happened to some of us from poor households.

Sadiya Aliyu, 18, said she only got to hear of the reusable pad recently, adding that it is “better because I can use it for six months and it is very comfortable. I only need two for a whole year”.

The way forward for menstruation hygiene in Rigasa

The Founder and Executive Director of E-CAPH said that the initiative was able to overcome the challenges of non-acceptance by the community that was religiously inclined not to discuss matter relating to women and especially women monthly menstrual cycle.

This, he said, was due to the various trainings personnel of his organisation went through.

From these training “we were able to understand the role of religious leaders, community leaders, women and youth groups in advocating for reproductive health and family planning.

“There was equally a book produced by NUHRI on religious (Islamic and Christian) perspectives to family planning.

“We used the book in partnership with religious leaders and women groups to advocate for the acceptance of the family planning and reproductive health issues in communities.

“We were able to help them understand more about sexual and reproductive health issues. This led to the acceptance by parents to talk to their children and wards about sexual reproductive health issues.

Abubakar said that with the achievement so far recorded in helping the girls to better manage their menstrual hygiene, development partners, state government and local government areas should support the initiative to increase access by the poor and vulnerable adolescent girls in urban and rural areas.(NAN)


NCDC Unveils Integrated Disease Testing, Surveillance Laboratory in Lagos




 The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has unveiled an Integrated Disease Testing and Surveillance Laboratory for Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and other infectious diseases.

The NCDC’s Director-General, Dr Jide Idris, during the unveiling  at the NCDC Central Public Health Laboratory in Yaba, Lagos, said that the laboratory was aimed at strengthening the fight against diseases of public health importance in the country.

Idris said the integrated laboratory would be a game-changer in the fight against infectious diseases of public health importance to the country.

Idris said the establishment of the laboratory was made possible through partnership with the U.

S. Consulate Mission in Nigeria, the CDC Foundation, Public Health Initiative (APIN) and The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Nigeria.

Idris said: “Nigeria has one of the highest diversity and burden of public health diseases with global significance in sub-Saharan Africa and response to diagnosis-related challenges for infectious diseases.

“We have identified the need to develop capacity for advanced diagnostic services and laboratory-based surveillance capacity for NTDs, malaria, mycotic diseases,and similar diseases of public health importance

“The establishment of this integrated laboratory diagnosis facility will be a game-changer in the fight against infectious diseases by providing accurate,early,and comprehensive diagnosis,informative decision making for enhanced patient care.

“It will ensure proactive disease surveillance, outbreak management,optimise antimicrobial stewardship.

“It will also ensure reduced antimicrobial resistance, inform research and development for new diagnostic tests and treatments, improved patient safety and reduce healthcare costs, enhanced global health security through rapid detection and response”.

The D-G expressed gratitude to the U.S. CDC, CDC Foundation, , APIN and TECRO for their commitment and support to complement the effort of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to enhance the country’s health sector.

Speaking also, the representative of the U.S. Consul General to Nigeria, Mr Will Stevens, said Nigeria had one of the highest burden of global malaria cases and deaths, noting that the establishment of the integrated laboratory was critical.

Stevens said there was need to provide Africa Solutions to Africa problem, noting that the country’s response and resilience in curbing the spread of Ebola and COVID-19 outbreak was impressive

“Nigeria is a regional leader and as leader, we need more African solutions to these African problems and African solutions to global problems.

“This laboratory will bring world-class healthcare, world-class research, world-class monitoring and detection systems to the people of Nigeria and allow Nigerians to continue to be a global leader,” he said.

Also, the Chief of Mission to the Taiwanese Government in Nigeria, Andy Liu, said it was a honour for Taiwan government to collaborate with the U.S and the CDC Foundation to support and strengthen Nigeria health system through the establishment of the laboratory and donation of world class equipment.

“This is significant and it is important for the international body to help build a world class laboratory with advanced equipment for Nigerians.

“We are looking forward to more collaboration to build more capacity in the health sector and strengthen our relationship with the country,” he said.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, in his remarks described the establishment of the integrated laboratory as a move in the right direction.

Abayomi emphasised on the importance of collaboration in strengthening and building capacity to address health challenges affecting the country.

Speaking also, the Senior Programme Officer of CDC Foundation, Cassandra Webster, said the partnership with the NCDC, CDC Nigeria, and other collaborators would help strengthen the public health infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Webster, the gesture will boost Nigeria’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats in the country.

“I’m glad to be here for the launch of such an important partnership, the CDC Foundation is an independent, U.S.-based nonprofit body created by the U.S. Congress to help advance and extend the life-saving work of CDC and the public health through public-private partnership.

“This continued progress against malaria and neglected tropical diseases is critical to saving lives, and our efforts to strengthen this laboratory, using advanced technology.

“I thank TECRO for their critical and generous support for this important effort, and I also want to thank the CDC Nigeria and NCDC teams for their partnership,” she said.

Report says that advanced medical equipment were donated to the NCDC for the establishment of integrated laboratory (NAN)

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Stakeholders Express Worry over zero Dose Immunisation in 13 Bauchi LGs




Stakeholders in Bauchi have expressed  significant concerns over  zero dose immunisation for children in 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and communities in the state.

They expressed worry at  a capacity building workshop for for the members of the Community of Practice (CoP) on immunisation budget tracking, accountability,and sustainability targeting zero dose children organised by  the Africa Health Budget Network in Bauchi.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Chairman  of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Board noted that inspite  of the availability of vaccines which are administered free of charge, 13 LGAs  have recorded zero dose.


These LGAs, he said,  are Alkaleri ,Bauchi, Ganjuwa, Darazo, Gamawa, Itas Gadau, Katagum, Misau, Toro,  Ningi, Shira and Zaki.

”Even out of the remaining 7 LGAs, 2 are porous because they are bordering neighbouring Yobe and Jigawa,” he said.

The cxecutive chairman further noted that zero dose reduction strategies have been put in place to include periodic intensification of routine immunization, in between rounds of activities and market vaccination.

“We don’t know why parents and care-ivers refuse to vaccinate their children. And to address this, the Board takes the vaccination to hard-to-reach communities, at naming ceremonies and follow normads along their routes.”

Giving an overview of the immunisation financing landscape at the state level, Mohammed said that the state government remained the main source of funding for health.

He added that the government is being supported by the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, Bauchi State Health Trust Fund, Bauchi State Contributory Management Agency, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, MOU partners and the World Bank Projects.

He said:”in 2024, the State allocated N45.1 billion representing 15 per cent to the health sector out of the total state budget of N300.3 billion, while my Board got N11.6billion”.

He added that with the transition of the MOU arrangement from Routine immunization MOU to PHC, Bauchi is now responsible for 100% payment of immunisation activities.

” This money will be used for vaccine delivery, cold chain maintenance, Routine immunization intensification and demand generation among others,” he added.

On his part, the Africa Health Budget Network Chief Executive Officer and Coordinator, Dr Aminu Magashi said that the organisation is a sub-partner to the African Field Epidemiology Network on the Nigeria zero dose learning Hub.

He noted that GAVI established the learning Hub to address issues around immunization equity by identifying zero-dose and under-immunised children using the identity, reach, monitor, measure, and advocate framework.

AHBN has established a community of practice which focuses on budget tracking, accountability, and sustainability.

He stressed, “The capacity building is to help the CoP members influence the immunization financing landscape through evidence-based advocacy.”

The CoP members include health experts, relevant  government officials, Academia, Media, Civil Society Organisations, social Media handler’s among others (NAN)

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Lagos State Leads Nigeria’s Cholera Outbreak– NCDC




Lagos State is at the centre of a significant cholera outbreak in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has said.

The latest data via the NCDC website stated that as of week 25, Lagos state, registered 104 new cases out of the country’s total of 113 reported cases for the week.

Report says that cholera is a severe diarrheal illness caused by the bacterium *Vibrio cholerae*.

The NCDC said that the outbreak resulted in seven deaths nationwide, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 6.

1 per cent in the state.

It said that Ogun state reported seven cases, while Katsina had one case.

The NCDC said that in the last month, Lagos state alone reported 533 suspected cholera cases, contributing significantly to the country’s total of 576 cases.

The agency said other states with reported cases include Ogun (19), Rivers (9), Katsina (8), Oyo (2), Abia (2), Bayelsa (2), and Sokoto (1).

It stated that the month also saw 32 deaths across the country, with a CFR of 5.6 per cent, significantly higher than the national expected average of one per cent, underscoring the severity of the situation

The NCDC said that efforts to diagnose and control the outbreak included 217 Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT), of which 17 were positive, and 232 stool culture tests, with 28 positive results.

It said that the National Multi-sectoral Cholera Technical Working Group (TWG) continue to oversee and coordinate response efforts across the affected states.

The agency said that as of June 23, 2024, Nigeria has reported a total of 1,579 suspected cholera cases and 54 deaths (CFR 3.4 per cent across 32 states.

It said that the age groups most affected were children under five years old, followed by those aged five -14 years, with an equal distribution between males and females.

“Lagos State leads with 537 cases, accounting for 34 per cent of the national total.

“In Bayelsa State, Southern Ijaw LGA reported 151 cases, making up 10 per cent of the country’s total.

“Other significantly affected states include Bayelsa (466), Abia (109), Zamfara (64), Bauchi (46), Katsina (45), Cross River (43), Ebonyi (38), Rivers (37), Delta (34), Imo (28), Ogun (21), Nasarawa (19), Ondo (17), Kano (13), Niger (11), and Osun (11),” he said.

Notably, the NCDC said that there has been a 37 per cent decrease in suspected cholera cases compared to the same period in 2023, with a 21 per cent reduction in cumulative deaths in 2024.(NAN)

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