A Health Expert, Timehin Ogungbe, on Tuesday advised women to be prepared mentally and physically for menopausal effects, changes and learn to live with it, since it’s inevitable.
Ogungbe, a Pharmacist and the Managing Director, Ellbeth Pharmacy, gave the advice at a health and wellness programme organised for widows by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Tabitha-Kay Widows Care Foundation (TKWCF) held in Lagos.
No fewer than 80 widows benefited from the programme which was also a training, empowerment and reach-out event.
The event had a health talk, seminars and donations to the widows.
Speaking on Menopausal Challenges and Solutions, Ogungbe highlighted that menopause was an inevitable change in women.
“Menopause is inevitable, but our women must learn to live with it and be well prepared mentally and physically.
“There are many things that can trigger the hot flashes such as alcohol, smoking, stress, caffeine drinks and other things which women must avoid because they are triggers.
“Some may say that they are non-smokers but staying around the smokers, these set of people are at greater danger than the smokers.
“Women should also eat healthy and take lots of fruits instead of carbonated drinks which are unhealthy,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ajike Gbotefa, said that she had faced hard times since she lost her husband in 1981.
“I have faced a lot of problems since my husband died about 40 years ago. My husband’s family told me that widows are not allowed to have inheritance.
“I was left to care for the children alone as all my late husband’s properties were taken away.
“I thank the organisers of this programme for a well thought out help for us especially in taking care of our health as we age,” she said.
Also, 53-year-old Mrs Mauyon Akoteyon from Badagry, recounted that she had been heavily indebted since her husband died.
“My business crashed after the death of the bread winner who happened to be my husband with no one to run to.
“The NGO has tried in a good way to help us out of our problems with this orientation and empowerment programme,” she said.
Mrs Modupe Adebayo said that her health had depreciated because she had four children to cater for since she lost her husband in 2017.
“I have health challenges because the burden is too much on me. I cannot afford good education for my children because I have no one to help.
“To compound our woes, we have to settle for our uncompleted building at Mesan, Iju Ota in Ogun to lay our heads and it is always flooded whenever it rains,” she lamented.
Ajimoh Johnson,46, who lost her husband in 2010 said she had to fend off advances from men because of her young age when she lost her husband.
“I struggle a lot in keeping myself together to ward off advances from men because I lost my husband at a tender age.
“I have four boys to feed and it is not easy for me. Though there are pressures that I should re-marry, I don’t want to go that way again.
“After I lost my husband, I struggled to make myself relevant by going back to school to obtain a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate in Health Information.
“I am presently working as health attendant in one of the Primary Health Centres in Lagos.
“I think what the widows need more is empowerment,” she said.
Mrs Oluseye Ayo-Ade, 65, said her challenge was inter-tribal marriage adding that she had to find money for the burial of her late husband.
“I am from Osun while my husband is from Edo. The tribal differences played a lot of challenges to me.
“My husband married two wives but I was the one who gave birth to the male child. Because of this, I was told to find money to bury my husband.
“l was solely responsible for the burial rites and he was buried in front of his uncompleted building.
“We need protection as widows because we are not treated well at all,” she said.
Another widow, Mrs Joy Chika said that the cultural belief systems associated with widows were degrading.
“I was mandated to shave my hair when my husband died and I stayed in that position for six months.
“But after the six months, no one ever bothered about how the children are taken care of or how we are surviving.
“Some of these practices are degrading to women, but what can we do? My husband died as a result of sickness and not my fault,” she said.
The Coodinator of the NGO, TKWCF, Mrs Dorcas Adelaja said that she decided to set up the unique foundation because of her experience while in the banking sector.
“While I was working as a banker, I had many experiences whereby widows are denied the opportunity to access their husband’s money left in the bank.
“Also, my name plays a major role in this; I am Dorcas and the character that goes by that name in the Bible took care of widows.
“The women are so downcast that there health was always neglected,” she said.
Adelaja said that her experiences and other things in the society, convinced her that widows needed special care, since they were often neglected by families and society.
“I started this project years back, to help the widows in the little way I can.
“We do provide them with basic essentials that they need and especially empowerment them which will make them self-reliant and awareness programme,” she said.
Various essentials including children clothes, fabrics, packs of noodles, toiletries, food items such as rice and beans were donated to the widows.