Wife of Kebbi state governor and Founder, Medicaid Cancer Foundation/CEO Medicaid Diagnostic Center, Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu on Tuesday, lamented the 6 million figure of out-of-school girls, saying this is rather appalling.
She said this is largely due to lack of awareness of personal hygiene and changes they experience as a result of puberty.
Dr Bagudu made the assertion at the 25th anniversary of Procter and Gamble (P&G) existence in Nigeria and its “Always keeping girls in school” programme, held at the Government Day secondary school, Karu, Abuja.
She said: “What we are doing is part of the way forward,creating awareness, encouraging them, working with them, the reasons some of them are out of school is because they don’t have conducive learning environment, some of them is because they don’t know the value of education and they don’t have the confidence to get to that level.”
She decried the rate of drop-out due to menstrual health adding that most of the girls are subjected to unhygienic alternatives.
“So we build that confidence by equipping them with what they need such as the menstrual health programme.
“A lot of girls are out of school because they don’t have a way of taking care of themselves when they have menstrual periods. They sit in the bush, even the ones in schools, drop out. By the time puberty comes and menstruation becomes regular, the dropout rate increases not only in the Northern state.
“Girls are still using rags and even feathers, some sit in the bush for over five days that they have their period.
In 2018, this is not right. By the time you are missing three days or seven days every month you will be underperforming,” she added.
To this end, she called for government and private investments in the improvement of girl-child hygiene even as she urged the P&G to extend its programmes to Kebbi state.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director, P&G, Mr George Nassar explained that the Always School Programme, since its inception in 2009, has helped to equip young girls between ages 10-12 with information on hygiene and puberty.
He disclosed that the programme is currently run in 3,600 schools across 26 states in the federation adding that, to date, we have successfully reached 6.6million girls and this has resulted in a reduced rate of girls’ absence in school and an increment in their confidence level.”
Nassar reiterated the company’s commitment to contributing to Nigeria’s economy stressing that the country remains a focus area.
He said in the last 25 years, the company has successfully employed 5000 people, directly or indirectly with Nigerians making up 98 percent of its managers locally and internationally.
“Our organization is also committed to giving back to the society in which we operate because we believe that for a business to be sustainable, the community has to first be sustainable,” he added.