" /> //pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js
Published On: Mon, May 29th, 2017

Priced out: High cost of sanitary pads force girls to use rags, tissue paper

.        Skip school, sporting activities




A rooftop-high increase in the price of sanitary pads has forced teenage girls to resort to use of rags, tissue paper, cotton wool and sanitary pads of questionable quality most of which are smuggled into the country from China during their monthly periods. Some others wear their sanitary pad for longer hours, raising concern over feminine hygiene, investigations revealed.


The hike in the price which cut across most brands in the Nigerian market has the market leader, Always Ultra Sanitary Pad(Procter& Gamble), and its major rival, Ladycare  (Sankin Nig Ltd) dealing their consumers the hardest blow with a 100% increase in price from N250 per pack in 2015 to N500 in 2017 andN200 to N400 in the same period, respectively; Diva (Marley Global Ltd) leapt from N180 to N250(38.8%); Feelite (2-in-1 economy) from N40 to N70(75%) while Tampon rose from N750 to N1200(60%).


With the development, many teenage girls from poor and middle-class homes now stay away from school or sports and other extra-curricular activities during menstruation to save themselves from public embarrassment that a possible stain could cost them.


The price hike has raised concern among educators, parents, medics, activists, and other members of the public who worried that the development would worsen the state of girl-child education. Nigeria is burdened by low girl-child education. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), only 56.7%of 17 million Nigerian girls aged between10 and 19 have primary education while 45.7% have secondary education. Similarly, the National Democracy and Health Survey 2013 revealed that girls make 60% of 10.5 million out-of-schoolchildren in Nigerian.


At N500, the new price of Always Ultra Sanitary pad, a housewife could buy a sizable tuber of yam that would serve a family of four for a meal. With the Nigerian economy still in recession, many average families living on a shoestring budget amidst struggle to streamline spending to basic needs would rather spend on food than a good quality sanitary pad for their girls.


Nigeria slumped into recession over a year and half ago, causing high inflation, especially food inflation and over 3.7 million job losses in 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Many workers in both public and private sectors who still have their jobs have suffered salary cuts or are being owed arrears of salaries ranging from 4 months to 15 months.

READ  Falana slams NNPC for failing to reveal financial information


Omolara Olayokun, 14 year SS1 student of a public secondary school in Agege, a low-income suburb in Lagos, had her menarche two years ago at 12. The teenage girl who lives with her grandmother took off her journey into womanhood with Always Ultra Sanitary Pad as her companion. Today, they have been separated by economic down-turn.


High inflation induced by recession has affected prices of essential commodities including Omolara’s favourite sanitary pad, forcing her to resort to Ladycare, a more affordable substitute. However, at dire moment when there was no pack of Ladycare nor money to get one when the monthly visitor called, she had to use pieces of clothes.


“When I started, I was using Always. It last longer. Now because of the price, I cannot use Always again. I used clothes, pieces of Ankara, once because there was no money in the house. It stained all my clothes, “she recalled, turning her pained eyes from meeting this writer’s.


Although Favour John, a 13 -year old JS student of Dreamers College, a private secondary school, also in Lagos, did not take to rags like Omolara, her option kept her off sporting activities in school whenever her monthly flow arrived.


“I use Diva. It is smaller (than Always) and cheaper. Always stays glued on your pants because they use plenty of gel. Diva doesn’t. So, I don’t go for sports when I am menstruating because of that,” disclosed Favour.


Adetutu Obisanya, 14, an SS 1 student of Barachel College, another private school in Lagos who confirmed that with the recession many girls her peer have taken to unwholesome hygiene practice said:

“Some girls use tissue paper or pack together pieces of clothes. Some use the pad for more than eight hours. It is not good because they can get infection in their private part or they start smelling or it soils their clothes,” she reasoned.


Adetutu and her friends; Sharon Ndubuisi,12; Blessing Johnson,14,and Sarah Fofara,14, had all switched from Always to Ladycare, Diva and Feelite Sanitary Pads, respectively though they admitted that they felt more comfortable with Always Ultra Pad.

READ  Buhari cancels trip to Rwanda


Every Nigerian girl’s best friend, Always Ultra Sanitary Pad is  the most popular brand of sanitary towels among teenage girls in Nigeria, preferred for its unique slim towel with wings and gel and the brand promise of 8 hours of ‘No check, no stain.’ However, lately that relationship has gone sour to the advantage of less popular–though – affordable brands and unwholesome absorbent materials at the expense of academic performance and health of the girl-child.


A Lagos-based educationist, Mrs Josephine Oduyemi, said that the resort to less comfortable absorbent materials during periods affect performance of girls in school.

“It will affect their performance. There would be lack of concentration. She (a girl who is not well- protected during menstruation) will not be able to participate in learning.”


According to a medical practitioner, Dr Wale Ajala of Ladi-Lak Medical Centre, Lagos, the use of rags, tissues or substandard sanitary pads may lead to urogenital infections capable of causing infertility or renal failure.

“Uses of those materials other than sanitary pad can lead to infection of genital and urinary system which may be complicated within fertility or renal failure if not treated properly.”


Irked by the hike in the price of sanitary pads, some women have advocated that sanitary pads be made free instead of free condoms which some non-governmental organisations are wont to dish out, arguing that  sanitary pad is a necessity that if not met could keep the girl-child away from school. One of them, Vivian Ugwu, recently kicked off a social media campaign with the hashtag:#Keepgirlsinschool.  Ugwu argued in a Facebook post: “Sanitary pad should be free. Condoms should be sold. Sex is a choice, menstruation isn’t.”


Efforts to get reaction from Procter& Gamble proved abortive as they would not respond to emailed enquiries sent to them via their communication managers as at press time. However, It remains to be seen whether the Always brand would rather continue to exploit its leadership position, pegging high profit margin at the expense of the girl-child or together with other sanitary pad marketers try a balancing act between meeting a social need and profit-taking.



Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. […] Priced out: High cost of sanitary pads force girls to use rags, tissue paper […]

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Food Security: Sustainable cassava seed systems critical – IITA

    Scientists and experts in agriculture have converged on the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan to concretize efforts on ways to develop sustainable cassava seed systems in Nigeria. This according to them, would enable them to solve problems of low productivity and improve the livelihood of farmers while ensuring food security. Coordinator, Dr Hemant […]

  • Measles campaign in Oyo: Govt deploys over 8,000 officials

    The Oyo State Government has deployed over 8,000 officials for the 2018 Measles Immunisation across the state. The officials, numbering 8,351, will serve as House to House mobilisers, facilitators and town announcers. They will carry out the campaign from March 15 to March 27. The Commissioner for Health in the state, Azeez Adeduntan, while monitoring […]

  • Falana slams NNPC for failing to reveal financial information

    Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has criticised the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for rejecting a Freedom of Information request he made concerning the operations and finances of the corporation. Falana said the submission that the NNPC is not a public institution is embarrassing in that NNPC’s Counsel did not advert her mind to section […]

  • Exercise Cat Race: Troops nab 12 herdsmen in Benue

    The Nigerian Army on Sunday said 12 herdsmen have been arrested in Benue State. Channels TV reports that the suspects were arrested by troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade presently taking part in the Exercise Cat Race called Ayem Akpatuma in the state. They were arrested for alleged involvement in the destruction of farmlands in […]

  • Veto of Electoral Act: Saraki, Dogara vow appropriate response to Buhari’s amendment

    The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, have vowed to jointly give an appropriate response after President Muhammadu Buhari withheld his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. Spokespersons for the Senate President and Speaker, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan, revealed this in a statement on Saturday. […]

  • North East: 3.8m benefit from WHO free healthcare

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it provided health interventions to 3.8 million people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast in the past one year. WHO said in its 2017 annual report that it coordinated health sector partners and reached 3.8 million people with health services. The agency said that it worked closely […]

  • Saraki mourns as Sen. Ali Wakili dies at 58

    The President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki has expressed sadness over the death of Sen. Ali Wakili who was the chairman of the Senate committee on Poverty Alleviation. Wakili died at the age of 58 and his death has been confirmed by Saraki in a series of tweets to mourn his deceased colleague. Our […]

  • Pound recovers as World supports Britain in spy case

    The British pound recovered Friday from weakness prompted by a Russian decision to expel British diplomats, as the world rallied in support for London in a crisis sparked by the poisoning of a double agent, analysts said. World stocks, meanwhile, rose slightly at the end of a volatile week as fears lingered of a global […]

  • Akintoye: Killer herdsmen more dangerous than Boko Haram

    Historian, Professor Banji Akintoye, has supported the proposition that the Federal Government should declare killer herdsmen across the country as terrorists. According to him, they appear to be more dangerous than Boko Haram terrorists and therefore, must be stopped before their activities get out of hand. He addressed the issue when he appeared as a […]

  • Delta community lament poor health care system

    Residents of Bomadi and Ughelli North Local Government Areas of Delta state have raised serious concerns over what they’ve described as poor healthcare systems in their community. According to them, the Bomadi General Hospital is the only hospital that serves communities in the entire local government and its environs and for many months now, the […]

  • Niger Delta oil spills: Amnesty Int’l accuses Shell, Eni of negligence

    Rights group, Amnesty International, has faulted reports of oil spills in the Niger Delta by Shell and Eni, and is asking the Federal Government re-open investigations into 89 oil spills in the region. According to the group, the oil giants under-reported the number of spills in the last seven years and also attributed the causes […]

  • African Free Trade: FEC approves agreement

    Nigeria is set to sign the framework agreement for the establishment of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave the approval on Wednesday during the weekly meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House in Abuja. Consequently, Nigeria is expected to seal the agreement during […]

  • Buhari meets with NASS leaders

    President Buhari is currently in a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly inside the Presidential Villa. Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara. Channels TV reports there has been no information yet about what the meeting is about. It, however, comes two days after the President […]

  • Gov Ajimobi: We used ‘Prayer Warriors’ to pick the Vice Chancellor of Tech-U

    By OLUSESAN LAOYE Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state stunned the audience including the large dignitaries and parents during the matriculation of over 1,000 pioneer students of the Technical University Ibadan Oyo state when he revealed that, because they wanted the best for the institution, they had to employ prayer warriors to make that possible. […]

  • Glaucoma: Optometric association canvasses free eye screening

    The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) has called on the three tiers of government to provide free and mandatory glaucoma screening to reduce the burden of the disease on citizens. Dr Ngozi Nwanekezie, the Chairperson of NOA, FCT Chapter, made the appeal in a sideline interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at an “awareness […]

  • Wema Bank Promotes Financial Literacy in Schools

    As part of its effort to build a healthy savings culture amongst young Nigerians, Wema Bank visited several public schools across the country to educate students on the benefits of growing their financial knowledge and nurturing healthy investment habits which will serve them well in the future. Over 25 schools, spread across all six geographical […]