By Ijoo Bosco
May 28, 2014 (TORIT) – Eastern Equatoria’s state government in collaboration with partner organisations has marked world Menstrual Hygiene Day in the capital, Torit, on Wednesday as part of efforts to educate girls and break the cultural taboo around the issue.
International organisations and civil society groups joined hands with Eastern Equatoria’s ministries of education and social development in to highlight issues around menstruation.
The deputy mayor of the Torit municipal council, Marko Lokitoe Lokuuta, said that the menstruation cycle is currently one of the reasons why some girls miss school putting them at long-term disadvantage.
He added that traditionally, monthly periods were kept secret "but today for the good of our children let’s break the silence and stigma surrounding menstruation, let’s break taboos and start talking to our children about menstruation management so that they can complete their studies and keep themselves clean."
The state minister of social development, Paska Hifita, called on parents to take up responsibility in meeting the sanitary needs to their daughters by putting aside some of their income.
She encouraged teachers in all of Eastern Equatoria’s states and counties to teach girls about menstruation and give clear messages. It was important that schools did this she said, as some parents shy away from addressing the cultural taboo.
Minister Hifita said breaking the silence on the issue was the collective responsibility of South Sudanese civil society, teachers and parents.
Eastern Equatoria’s minister of education, Michael Lopuke, hailed the supporting donor organisations for their initiative in marking Menstrual Hygiene Day for its first time in the state’s history.