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Standardizing Menstrual Hygiene Products: A Crucial Step Towards Women’s Health

As part of CONIWAS advocacy work towards women having issues free menstrual period, CONIWAS has collaborated with the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) to organize a stakeholder engagement to kick start the process of standardizing reusable pads. Apart from cultural and social factors that make girls and women have difficult menstrual period; there is also the economic factors that not only make them have difficult menstruation (period) but also expose them to unhealthy menstrual practices. The use of foam, rag, paper among others have all been reported as materials some adolescent girls and women use during their menstruation (period). The stakeholder engagement is crucial to compile inputs from various stakeholders on what to be included in the standard for reusable pads.

In her opening remarks at the stakeholder engagement, Madam Beata Awinpoka, Executive Chair of CONIWAS, emphasized the critical role of MHM in women’s health and dignity, highlighting advocacy efforts championed by CONIWAS to promote access to sustainable WASH services and affordable menstrual hygiene materials. She edged all stakeholders present to support the standardization process to ensure delivery of quality and standard MHM products to our young girls and women. She was of the view that the stakeholder engagement will provide opportunity for education on how the standards are developed, application of the standards by industry players and the role of stakeholders advocating, implementing and supporting MHM in Ghana.

Two officers from the Standards Directorate of the Ghana Standard Authority made presentations to further guide and inform participants at the stakeholder engagement. First was Madam Francisca Frimpong who said there is a standard for the single use pads but the standard for the reusable pads is urgently needed. She mentioned that the technical committee is already in place and the inputs from the stakeholder engagement will be compiled and submitted to them. The second was Madam Priscilla Asantewaa Boateng who spoke on the standard development process and the benefit of standards. She discussed the six stages involved in standard development. They are the proposal stage, preparatory stage, committee stage, public enquiry stage, approval stage and publication stage. Additionally, she highlighted the benefit of standards which include enhanced customer satisfaction, environmental benefits, increased market share, among others. Some key stakeholders gave solidarity messages during the stakeholder engagement and they include reps from MSWR (GAMA – SWP), Plan International and MoE (SHEP).

In her closing remarks, Madam Beata Awinpoka thanks all participants for availing themselves to participate in the stakeholder engagement. She mentioned that CONIWAS will develop briefing notes to disseminate, work with GSA to raise funds to support the process and continuously advocate for support for the process to have standard for reusable pads.

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