His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and his wife the First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio have reached out to kids and families who were affected by the incident at the Bo stadium during the distribution of the Free Sanitary Pad in Bo city yesterday 2nd February, 2023.
President Bio twitted: “My heart goes out to all the children affected and the families of the kids that sustained injuries in the unfortunate incident at the Bo Stadium today. I wish all the injured a speedy recovery”.
He further wrote: “Our medical teams are working assiduously to administer medical attention to the injured. My team and I are monitoring the situation to ensure that everyone that needs medical attention receives it.”
The formal launch of the distribution of Free Sanitary Pad was reportedly interrupted by the incident involving school children when a short section of metal guardrail on one of the levels of the stadium came apart.
The affected children were immediately transported to the Bo Government Hospital for free medical care, accompanied by Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation.
Jasmine Sandy, a pupil who witnessed the incident told AYV that while the Free Sanitary Pad distribution process was ongoing on the pitch, most of the pipuls who were seated, rushed down from the stands to the railings, so as to get a closer view and cheer the process.
The mass movement according to Jasmine, caused pressure on the railings and some disruptions. Jasmine was however unable to comment further on the incident.
The President and his wife were at the stadium to officially launch the distribution of the Free Sanitary Pad Phase II campaign, which was meant to distribute some six thousand (6,000) sanitary pads to hundreds of pupils in Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Bo.
On 14th December 2019, Her Excellency the First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio launched the Maada and Fatima Bio Foundation’s Free Sanitary Pad for School Children’s Initiative.
The initiative has contributed immensely towards the protection, prevention and elimination of teenage pregnancy, early and forced marriage, child prostitution, forced labor and child trafficking in Sierra Leone.
The launch in the southern City of Bo marked the beginning of the distribution process across the country as the First Lady and her team will be traveling to Kono, Port Loko, Waterloo, Makeni, Magburaka and Kambia respectively to physically handover Free Sanitary Pads to schoolgirls as a way of motivating them to abstain from all forms of sexual activities while still attending school.
The Free Sanitary Pad Campaign is an auxiliary project of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, which continues to advocate to government and private sector to ensure girls are safe and comfortable during their menstrual cycle by providing sanitary towels for them, as it is one step to ensure equal rights to education for girls.
Her Excellency the First Lady believes that menstruation is not a choice and therefore, sanitary pads must be made accessible and free for girls.
“Girls do not deserve to be absent from school for half a term or a whole academic year just because they do not have an alternative menstrual care system that secures their wellness during their menstrual cycle,” she said.
The First Lady will be using the distribution process across the country as a means to encourage girls to focus on their education and encourage parents and guardians to send their girls to school.