By Felix Oketcho
Civil Society activists have asked government to waive taxes on sanitary pads.
They argued that the taxes are ahindrance to sanitary products access especially adolescents.
According to a survey conducted by African Youth Development Link, 3 out of 10 girls cannot afford menstrual hygiene supplies in Uganda.
The survey titled mapping of menstrual hygiene management was conducted between October and November 2020 in 14 subregions of Uganda namely Ankole, Rwenzori, Buganda, Karamoja, Acholi, Teso, Bukedi, Kigezi and Lango among others.
According to AYDL 70% of the adolescent girls are affected by menstruation while in school.
Patrick Ojulong lead consultant estimated that 3.7million school girls live without access to proper sanitary care.
Prosper Mubangizi independent consultant recommends that Ministry of Education and sports provides sanitary towels at primary schools through capitation grants in universal primary education and universal secondary education
“Menstrual health and hygiene management is largely overlooked issue in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. Every day, millions of menstruating girls and women in low income countries struggle to find clean water for washing, private places for changing and adequate blood absorbing materials,”Mubangizi said.
He however says Uganda has ratified several international and regional conventions and treaties that recognise and provide for access to water and sanitation as human right.
“Many girls and women in Uganda especially those living in poverty stricken urban and rural neighbourhood do not have access to appropriate information, menstrual health management facilities and products that are not only effective but also affordable and safe,” Mubangizi explained.
Menstrual Hygiene is vital to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls worldwide.
CSOs noted that Women and adolescent girls are using clean menstrual management materials to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials
Globally, at least 500 million women and girls lack proper access to menstrual hygiene facilities. Several factors influence difficult experiences with menstruation, including inadequate facilities and materials, menstrual pain, fear of disclosure, and inadequate knowledge about the menstrual cycle.
Maurice Hassa musician come activist calls for formation of an independent civil society coalition for menstrual health promotion and awareness to avoid duplication of services.