On World Health Day today, Amos Mate, Senior Programme and Partnerships Manager, shares his view on how Feed the Minds together with its partners challenges the doctrine of girls’ exclusion from health planning.
At Feed the Minds, we have been working with marginalised communities for over 50 years. One of the core areas we have focused on is women’s health in these communities. Among many other health issues women face, limited access to sanitary pads is one of the problems to be addressed. However, when viewed only from an education prism, it is seen that communities are more concerned about girls being absent from school than addressing any health-related reasons. Feed the Minds’ focus on health education compels us to explore ways of addressing issues of sexual and reproductive health education as an investment that girls should not miss.
As girls are supported to access sanitary pads, with our experience from one of our projects in Uganda, knowledge of sexual and reproductive health is a component that is lacking despite the fact that teenage pregnancies are on the rise. Deaths and complications during birth are prevalent among teenage girls.
Health remains an emotive issue amongst girls and young women and working with our partners we have noted that access to menstrual hygiene provides a good foundation for girls and young women to enhance their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues and health in general.
Health is not a treatment issue alone; knowledge plays a major role. Knowledge is acquired over time and in a conducive environment. One of our partners in Uganda is addressing this challenge by establishing health clubs in schools where girls can discuss freely and learn about themselves.
Health education is therefore central to addressing health in communities that cannot afford treatment at the point of need. Through knowledge, we are contributing to the prevention of common diseases that affect children and women in rural areas.
Feed the Minds is proud to support World Health Day and believes in Health Education for all.
Amos Mate, Senior Programme & Partnerships Manager, Feed the Minds