Home » Human Rights » 7 000 Trained to Make Re-Usable Sanitary Wear

Government has trained more than 7 000 women as it steps up efforts to empower rural communities to make re-usable sanitary wear to enhance access to affordable sanitary pads to girls and young women.

Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day last week, Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Acting Minister Cde Chris Mushohwe said the ministry had trained more than 7 000 women to make re-usable pads to address challenges facing poor rural girls when it came to menstrual management and hygiene.

“In order to address the challenges of accessing sanitary ware by women and girls especially in rural communities, the Ministry in partnership with SNV managed to train 7 572 women in Masvingo to make re-usable pads (RUMP) under the menstrual hygiene management programme,” he said.

“We have only started the programme in Masvingo province, but we will soon implement it in other provinces and address challenges of access to sanitary wear to our young women and girls.”

Many poor rural girls and young women use unhygienic alternatives to sanitary pads, such as newspapers, cow dung, sand and leaves, which puts them at a huge risk of infection.

Statistics show that 20 percent of rural school girls who menstruate do not attend school during their menstrual cycle because they cannot afford sanitary wear.

The menstrual hygiene management programme is being implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation whereby the washable sanitary pad can be used for up to 18 months.

Health experts say using other alternative unhygienic methods such as cow dung, leaves and newspapers can cause thrush, bruises, discomfort and diseases like cancer.

“One of the biggest threats to women’s healthy is lack of information particularly on specific conditions such as cervical cancer and breast cancer,” Cde Mushohwe said.

“In an effort to fight cervical cancer my Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care is disseminating information on where women can go for free cervical cancer screening.”

In Zimbabwe cervical cancer accounts for 33,4 percent of all cancers amongst women.

According to SNV Netherlands Development Organisation about 45 percent of rural girls use pieces of old clothes and rags, 29 percent use cotton wool, 18 percent use pads and 3 percent use newspapers and leaves.

The Dutch agency estimates that 72 percent of rural primary schoolgirls that menstruate do not use sanitary pads in Zimbabwe.

Source : The Herald