About 100 representatives from government, international and national development organizations, civil society, youth and media convened at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, in Islamabad to commemorate Menstrual Hygiene Day.
A key objective of the event was to promote sharing and learning of experiences from various interventions being conducted across the country and at the same time engage government to take a more proactive stand to implement policies and fund MHM in Pakistan. The discussions will culminate in policy recommendations for relevant ministries in Pakistan to support necessary actions to improve the status of MHM in the country.
The event was organized by the MHM Working Group, a coalition of humanitarian organizationsworking to champion menstrual hygiene rights in Pakistan.
The keynote address was given by Mr. Khalid Hussain Magsi – Chairman Standing Committee on National Health, Services, Regulations and Coordination. The event was also graced with the presence of Mr. Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Government of Pakistan. Other representatives from government included a host of experts from across health, academia, media, donors, private and the humanitarian sector. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Magsi said:
“Women and girls miss out opportunities in life because of not being able to handle this part of their life in a dignified manner. If we have to make health and education inclusive and equitable by 2030 in Pakistan, we have to focus on MHM needs of our girls and women. “
The event provided a platform to put a spotlight on an issue which is hardly addressed in Pakistan yet and sadly not all adolescent girls and women have access to the facilities they need to manage their menstrual cycles.
A panel discussion focusing on the impact of lack of proper menstrual hygiene on the education of adolescent girls was organized. Panelists included government representatives including Mr. Ali Raza, Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Program, Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson of the National Commission on Women Status, Mr. Syed Ayub Qutub, Chief Executive PIEDAR and Dr. Naseem Ashraf, senior Gynecologist who delved into much needed solutions to tackle the taboo and associated problems that females especially young adolescent girls face.
UNICEF’s Chief of Education:
“Despite Pakistan’s gains in meeting its water and sanitation development goals, we are still failing millions of adolescent girls and young women who do not have access to the most basic necessities for managing their periods. As a result of this, and lack of basic knowledge on menstruation, their education suffers. We all know that many girls skip school during their periods, and that some of them eventually drop out.”
Ms. Hina Kausar, co-chair MHM Working Group Pakistan:
“The objective of the MHM Working Group is to raise cognizance of creating an enabling policy environment for prioritizing MHM in the programming agendas and to support the Government in the implementation of MHM interventions,”