The government of Tanzania to provide free sanitary pads to all public secondary schools.
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UNESCO estimated that one in 10 African adolescent girls miss school during their menses.This is mainly attributed to lack of affordable sanitary pads as low income families have a hard time purchasing the products. A pact of pad can cost up to 2000 thousands Tsh or even more for a better quality products.
In many local schools, there are no supportive facilities like hygienic toilets and privacy where girls can help themselves during their menstrual periods. Imagine having toilets which have no doors where anyone could peek in at any moment, due to these challenges girls are forced to make a decision of skipping school, they prefer to stay home than to face the embarrassment in front of their peers, many of them are unable to speak out their problems because of the taboos, this taboo need to end with proper education, but first, free sanitary pads need to be provided, so that no one has to miss school because of their period.
If we do not set up the systems in place that allow provision of free sanitary pads to secondary school girls, we risk increase in girls dropping out from schools. However if we do get this to happen, we will allow all girls to confidently attend school without having to worry about the embarrassment of their period letting them down. They will focus on their studies and reduce the number of school dropout.
The provision of free pads to secondary schools should go in hand with building proper infrastructures ie. toilets, pit latrine, water systems etc.
Moreover public dialogues should be encouraged to reduce the silence caused by stigma and taboos on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) issues. MHM education and medicines (for girls with abnormal pains) should be accessible especially in rural communities.
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