Why? (Part 1) | Kwa nini tuyazungumzie haya? (Sehemu ya 1)

The necessity of this project cannot be summarised in one blog post, but I’m going to try and illustrate it with a concrete example instead. So much work has been/is being done in the area of reproductive health for youth across the African continent, that my small project may seem redundant to some. Tomorrow I will share the one of the encounters that spurred me to start this blog, but for now I have just come across yet another story that justifies question 5 on the survey:

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The inventor of this product, a man presumably who doesn’t himself menstruate, has decided that women could better manage their period flow by gluing their labia shut instead of using sanitary products. This, my non-menstruating friends, is not how periods work. If this man, who has reached a level of education sufficient to practice as a chiropractor in the United States, does not know how the realities of this female reproductive process, then what more of young people in parts of the world where formal schooling can be of questionable quality?

The fifth question on my survey is directed specifically at men, to gauge how much they knew about the menstrual cycle while growing up. This could potentially help identify knowledge gaps that need reinforcement, be it at school or at home. Some may deem it irrelevant, for their own lack of the necessary anatomy, but we humans are social beings who could best serve each other by understanding each other’s design. It is our perception of and attitudes to each other that we take with us into the roles that we fill in this world; when people like the inventor of this poorly thought-out glue idea occupy positions that influence policy, those policies end up misleading the public and excluding people.

The absurdity of the idea lends the chance that he might be trolling the masses. But then again, it was posted on LinkedIn, so there’s a chance that he’s genuinely convinced that this is a revolutionary idea. Though it really shouldn’t need to be said, glue would not only be ineffective but also detrimental to a user’s health, similar to one of the reasons why infibulation (an extreme form of female genital mutilation involving excision of the clitoris and stitching shut of the labia) is also harmful: the vagina is not a vessel for holding fluids, and sealing it to retain blood could result in discomfort and infections. For an explanation about the menstrual cycle, kindly refer to this site or this site. For any questions pertaining to menstrual health, consult your doctor or other licensed healthcare practitioner. For any questions about what it’s actually like to manage a menstrual period, please ask someone who gets or has had them; it’s better to ask than to make wrong assumptions.

-Sylvia

***

Umuhimu wa huu mradi hauwezi kuelezwa vya kutosha kwenye insha fupi kama hii, lakini nitajaribu kutumia mfano hai. Masuala ya afya ya uzazi kwa vijana yameishafanyiwa/yanafanyiwa kazi nyingi barani kote Afrika, kwa hiyo huu mradi wangu mdogo unaweza ukaonekana kukosa maana. Kesho nitasimulia kuhusu tukio moja lililonifanya nianzishe hili jukwaa, lakini kwa sasa kuna jingine linalodhihirishwa haswa umuhimu wa swali la tano kwenye fomu dadisi:

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Hili ni tangazo lilioandikwa na mwanaume ambaye, licha ya yeye mwenyewe kutoona siku zake, ameamua kuwa njia bora ya kumudu damu ni kwa kugundisha midomo ya uke badala ya kuvaa pedi. Kwa wasomaji wangu ambao ni wanaume, hivi sivyo inavyokuwa. Kama huyu mwanaume, ambaye amefikia kiwango cha elimu tosha kuwa mtaalamu wa maumivu ya mgongo, hafahamu jinsi viungo vya uzazi vya wanawake vinavyofanya kazi, sembuse vijana kwenye pande za dunia ambako elimu nzuri haipatikani kirahisi?

Swali la tano kwenye fomu yangu linaulizwa kwa wanaume, kuona ufahamu waliokuwa nao kuhusu mzunguko wa hedhi kipindi wanakua. Hii inaweza kusaidia kutambua ni jinsi gani hili suala linaweza kufundishwa vema zaidi, mashuleni na majumbani. Kuna ambao wataona haiwahusu, kwa kuwa wao wenyewe hawana viungo vya uzazi vya kike, lakini sisi binadamu tunaishi katika jamii na tunaweza kusaidiana vizuri zaidi tukielewa maumbile ya wenzetu. Katika kazi zozote tufanyazo duniani, tunahitaji kuwa na uelewa na heshima kwa wengine; watu kama huyu mtengenezaji wa hii gundi wakishika nafasi zenye ushawishi kwa sera, sheria zinazoibuka huwa baguzi na haziwazingatii walio tofauti na wao.

Nimestaajabu hili wazo la gundi hadi nimeanza kuhisi labda anatutania. Lakini kama unavyoona, ilikuwa mpaka kwenye LinkedIn kwa hiyo kuna uwezekano kwamba wazo analiamini kabisa. Ingawa ingependeza zaidi nisingehitaji kusema haya, hii gundi haifai kwa kazi ya kuzuia damu na pia inaweza kusababisha matatizo ya kiafya sawa na yale yaletwayo na kukeketwa: njia ya uke sio chombo cha kubebea damu, na kupaziba na gundi kunaweza kusababisha maumivu pamoja na magonjwa. Kwa maelezo kuhusu mzunguko wa hedhi, soma hapa. Kwa maswali yanayohusu afya ya mzunguko wa hedhi, muulize daktari wako au mtaalamu mwingine aliyefuzu. Kama unataka kufahamu jinsi wanawake wanavyomudu hedhi, tafadhali muulize mtu anayepata au aliyewahi kupata; ni bora kuuliza kuliko kukisia na kukosea.

– Sylvia

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