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Menstruation (17)

1 November, 2022

Hello everyone. I came out of the successful maiden edition of the Commonwealth Medical Association's Healthcare Excellence Award ceremony to deserving physicians who met the very high eligibility and criteria levels set by the Committee that set up the Award structures, etc. I came out to read the Executive Committee very interesting thread of opinions about menstruation, the pros and cons of open discussion of such a 'sensitive and private' normal physiological event.

Of course cultural realities must be taken into account when topics are spoken about in public. Because as we say here, ‘context is everything’ .

But irrespective of this, certain cultural views do need to be reviewed and reversed using evidence and facts: literature is full of where such approaches have saved lives, physical, mental and psychological health.

Take a look at the video that accompanied the first post on menstruation [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fsxBSG1pTs&t=9s] and you will see the anguish, loss of self esteem, even stress and depression caused to the girl child who was directly impacted by the reaction of her classmates. And notice how the teachers went about trying to educate both the girls and the boys on self respect and avoiding embarrassing comments. Notice also the statistics of girls staying away and missing school and what that means to millions of girls and their families and society across the globe.

I draw attention of members of a HIFA to certain cultural and even religious opinions that have changed or the harm reduced, by open discussion and policy based on evidence and fact:

- killing of twins by certain tribes in Nigeria (in my own state: Cross River State), because ‘twin birth is devilish’!

- ‘Female Genital mutilation’

- ‘flogging psychiatric patients to exorcise the devil in them’

- ‘bleeding the patient to cure hypertension ‘a common cultural practice in medieval Europe even’

- and so on.

Finally I don't think that the HIFA key mission, ensuring access to and use of factual accurate health information to patients, carers and the public can be achieved if myths and actions based on ignorance are not discussed as openly as possible.

Joseph Ana.

HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Senior Fellow/Medical Consultant at the Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria, established by HRI Global (former HRIWA). He is a member of the World Health Organisation's Technical Advisory Group on Integrated Care in primary, emerggency, operative, and critical care (TAG-IC2). As the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, he led the introduction of the Homegrown Quality Tool, the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance Programme, in Nigeria (2004-2008). For sustainability, he established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria. His main interest is in whole health sector and system strengthening in Lower, Low and Middle Income Countries (LLMICs). He has written six books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance programme, suitable for LLMICs, including the TOOLS for Implementation. He served as Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association's Standing Committee on Clinical GovGovernance (2012-2022), and he won the Nigeria Medical Association's Award of Excellence on three consecutive occasions for the innnovation. He served as Chairman, Quality & Performance, of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act 2014. He is member, National Tertiary Health Institutions Standards Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health. He is the pioneer Secretary General/Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers. ( http://www.hifa.org/support/members/joseph-0http://www.hifa.org/people/s...). Email: info AT hri-global.org and jneana AT yahoo.co.uk