Getting your first period is a natural part every’s puberty. It can be very scary and confusing period and often those who go through it need a lot of hand holding and lessons up the sexual health.
That and a lot of sanitary pads. Sadly due to the economic situation in Zimbabwe it seems some girls can no longer afford sanitary pads especially in some rural areas. Shamwari Yemusikana Organisation an organisation dedicated to looking after the needs and rights of girls have expressed concern over this.
Ekia Chifamba in an interview with Amnesty had this to say over the issue.
I think a year ago sanitary pads were going for a dollar and the majority of our girls could not even afford to buy the sanitary pads and now with that huge amount of sanitary pads more of them are failing to do so, now they are ranging from six to nine dollars. If you go to some of marginalised parts of Zimbabwe like Mutoko and Chiredzi, they are girls who are now resorting to use unhygienic cow dungs, girls are using materials from handmade pillows that they have, some of them are using leaves and it negatively affecting their health
So last year we made a lot of noise, telling the Ministry of Finance that we need duty to be spared for sanitary pads and I think last year when we finished off we were really overjoyed because we have been told that the duty would be spared off but from the issue that we need to push for even further because we still see that it has been rarely addressed and our girls are going to miss school because of the reasons I have mentioned before.
know that some organisations are striving to give sanitary pads but they are not enough, they are failing to set enough material so we urgently need the government to come on board, to address this issue so that we don’t have our girls exposed to negative environment, we don’t have our girls missing school during that time of the month.
According to the 2017 statics by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, it was estimated that in Zimbabwe 70% of girls in rural primary schools that menstruate have no access to hygienic sanitary pads due to dire economic situations which left many families unable to meet the demands of their families including sanitary pads.
We certainly hope those in government will work to address this.