Quest for cheaper sanitary pads in Tanzania continues

Wednesday May 25 2016

The Water, Health Education and Sanitation

The Water, Health Education and Sanitation Coordinator in the Ministry of Education, Ms Theresia Kuiwite, speaks at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the launch of International Menstrual Hygiene Week. With her are Water Aid Country Project Coordinator Clare Haule and Ms Orsolana Tolage of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. PHOTO | SAUMU MWALIMU 

By Saumu Mwalimu @mwalimmissie smwalimu@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Lack of proper sanitary gears is among major reasons rural girl students miss their classes and subsequently drop out from school.

It is estimated that girl students spend up to 60 days at home to serve the five days of the menstrual cycle every year, Ministry of Education’s Water, Health Education and Sanitation Coordinator, Theresia Kuiwite said yesterday.

Speaking during the launch of International Menstrual Hygiene Week, Ms Kuiwite said the use of traditional towel makes girls lose confidence while attending lessons, thus opt to remain at home. “They are not convenient and comfortable, especially in cold weathered regions,” she said.

She added that, the lesson learnt through the ongoing pilot project on affordable sanitary pads implemented in in Babati, Karatu, Siha, Magu, Chato, Njombe and Mufindi districts has reveled increase in school attendance among girls.

She said pads retail at Sh1, 000, the cost which seems to be costly for some families to afford.

“Our plea to the government through Tanzania Revenue Authority is to waive tax on the imported sanitary pads. The health and education ministries could have special budget to ensure the gears are provided for free, especially in rural schools,” she said.

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Meanwhile, coordinator of the International Menstrual Hygiene Week Hyasintah Ntunyeko urged the government to create enabling sanitation infrastructure in schools that would make girl students comfortable during their menstrual periods.