Menstruation is rarely discussed publicly in many Tanzanian communities due to either religious or cultural beliefs.
Similarly, men’s involvement in menstruation issues is minimal and has a dividing line; pro and anti-side, with the latter are sticking to their guns that menstruation should not be discussed publicly.
Despite a number of awareness-raising campaigns and movements in the community through the media, response is still wanting.
These ongoing campaigns have caused mixed reactions across the society and bringing the anti-side to the fore with further view of putting it in the spotlight as irreverent. In line with other factors, this leads to limited awareness of the importance of menstrual hygiene among youth.
Most schoolgirls face a major challenge which has adverse impacts to their studies and stifle their dreams having been exposed to unsound environment to access menstrual hygiene. It is stated that key elements for women to access menstrual hygiene are; proper menstrual education, access to toiletries, clean and safe water, adequate latrines, caring teachers, caregivers and a budget to enable the purchase of sanitary pads.
Commenting on menstruation and menstrual hygiene, Flowless Sanitary Pads Ambassador, Dr Romana Malikusema says menstruation is a condition or period where a matured teenage girl or woman who has yet to reach menopause age, bleeds through her vagina from 3 up to seven days in each month.
Dr Romana again substantiates that after puberty, a girl or woman’s body undergoes a preparatory period for conception; her cervix wall collapses and being discharged as menstrual blood in every month as a result of her failure to conceive.
“Menstrual hygiene takes place when a girl or woman is in a friendly environment to access safe sanitary pads for her reproductive health, girl / woman’s access to clean water and soap to make sure she bathes well and washes her hands when is about to change a sanitary pad, health guidelines in the challenges she faces during her menstrual period and access to store and dispose of used pads for her own safety and the environment in general, “said Dr Romana.
She says that in order for a girl to be menstrual hygienic, needs to be acquainted with menstruation and menstrual hygiene education in general, access proper sanitary pads and use, clean water and soap throughout the period because if she lacks these essential items may experience health risks including; challenges in reproductive health especially in the near future, infections in the urinary system e.g. fungus or inability to continue its activities thus holding her back academically and developmentally.
The position of T-MARC Tanzania in promoting menstrual hygiene
T-MARC Tanzania is a non-governmental organisation which focuses on improving health and stimulating economic development. Its core interventions are designated towards societal behavioral change for enhancing public health in family planning, child’s health, water, clean environment, nutrition and curbing Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs), Communicable Diseases such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer.
T-MARC Tanzania Senior Pro-gram Manager, Hamid Al-Alawy says menstruation has been a major challenge especially for schoolgirls as many have been forced to truancy while on their periods because of the great fear of ridicule and exclusion from peers and schoolmates.
T-MARC Tanzania has been a good partner of the Government and other development partners in ensuring that the community is aware of menstrual hygiene.
“We have successfully implemented menstrual hygiene projects in Lindi and Mtwara regions which focused on providing education to the community from students, teachers, village leaders, school leaders, divisions, wards, and districts to the region level. Awareness raising exercise was accompanied by the provision of free sanitary pads to students, “says Al-Alawy.
He also says these projects have been vital in addressing challenges faced by women and girls during menstruation, providing positive and innovative solutions that help curb these challenges, participating in policy dialogue and advocating for the integration of menstrual hygiene management into social and national policies and programs.
On sanitary pads, technological transformation has availed an access to sanitary pads which make girls stress-free, confident and facilitate their engagements in other activities while on their periods.
Flowless Sanitary Pads are owned and distributed by T-MARC Tanzania just like shiny gladiator have seen it all, trials and tribulations women face while on their menstrual cycles and are here for the rescue.
Speaking about the pads, Marketing Manager at T—MARC Tanzania, Alpha Joseph says that an arrival of the flowless sanitary pads (high quality sanitary pad) is a clear manifestation of the company’s goal to continue improve lives of women through its fully engagement in community’s menstrual hygiene awareness-raising.
“Flowless Sanitary Pads are made up of very latest technology using soft cotton silk that helps absorb moisture faster and more securely. These pads are thin which makes user feel free at any time. Nonetheless, its quality is higher and safer,” says Joseph.
He says Flowless Sanitary Pads are designed specifically to protect girls and women while on their periods. One flowless pack contains ten sanitary pads and is available in small and large stores throughout Tanzania for only Tsh 3,000.Joseph is in belief that menstruation is a well-known topic and so said, everyone has a responsibility to make sure the community has enough information about menstrual hygiene. “I call on all Tanzanians, from girls, women to men, to properly protect our sisters, partners, when they are on their periods by using Flowless Sanitary Pads which have certified quality by national and international authorities,” adds Joseph.
T-MARC Tanzania engagement in World Menstrual Hygiene day
“Menstruation has been kept secret and not discussed openly – on that backdrop, the United Nations (UN) and the international community including the non-governmental organisation such as WASH United of Germany which decided on May 28 of each year to mark World Menstrual Hygiene day where governments, non-govern-mental organisations, private sector, the media and various people come together to observe the day and advocate for importance of menstrual hygiene management as well as recognise challenges face girls and women during menstruation,” elaborates Al-Alawy.
He says the day is celebrated to educate the community about menstruation issues and menstrual hygiene because many communities have very limited awareness.
“T-MARC Tanzania we observe this day by providing menstrual hygiene education to the community through media outlets such as Clouds Fm (on Power breakfast and Leo Tena programs), Efm (Uhondo program), newspapers (Mwananchi and The Citizen) and social net-works, “says Joseph.
He notifies that T-MARC Tanzania will celebrate this day by partnering with Sickle Cell Disease Patients Community of Tanzania in providing menstrual hygiene education and support of sanitary pads for women with the disease. This event will take place in two districts of Temeke (Dar es Salaam region) and Bagamoyo (Coastal region).
Joseph says T-MARC Tanzania will continue provide education to the community about menstrual hygiene through the media and social platforms, continue engage with young people in various events that bring together young girls, improve access to Flowless products, as well as improve all women and girls’ wellbeing.
Message and call for all Tanzanians
Joseph says, “On behalf of T-MARC Tanzania, I wish all women a happy menstrual hygiene day across the world. As we celebrate this day, everyone should realise that they have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that the community around them is menstrual hygienic. And this is to remind you, one of the core principles of menstrual hygiene is appropriate use of quality sanitary pads therefore, I strongly urge all Tanzanian women to start immediately use Flowless Sanitary Pads for their own health and menstrual hygiene.