Periods should not hinder a girls education, Zambia must make sanitary pads readily available for girls

Mabvuto Kango, a programme Manager at the AIDS Health Foundation (AHF), has noted that there is a lack of access to sanitary towels by school girls which predisposes them to harmful activities.

Dr Kango stressed the lack of availability of sanitary towels, especially in rural areas, is exposing girls to find ways to assessing them, adding that it is resulting in them undertaking dangerous ventures which make them vulnerable.

AHF Zambia has collaborated with Miracle Corners, who has made a donation of sanitary towels to Chikupi Primary school.

Dr Kango noted that menstrual periods are a major cause of absenteeism from school of about one in ten girls in Africa, adding that girls also miss one to four days of school a month which eventually leads to dropping out of school. His organisation is determined to help improve the access to education for girls, adding that once they are empowered with education, they become less vulnerable and have the potential to become vibrant women who can contribute to the country’s socio-economic growth.

Miracle Country Manager, Violet Mwansa, has called for the Zambian government to consider reducing the tax paid on sanitary pads in order to make them more affordable. She noted, mestrual periods just like early marriages and early pregnancies, has the potential to make a girl child stay away from school, hence the need to find a lasting solution to the challenge.

Chikupi Primary School Deputy Headmistress, Matama Mulenga has expressed gratitude to the AIDS Health Foundation for the donation. Ms Mulenga noted that the donation would help boost the enrolment of girls at the school, as well as their attendance. Such a donation also contributed to improving the performance of girls at the learning facility, and their participation during lessons and the boosting of confidence within them.

Over 1.2 billion women across the world do not have access to the basic sanitation, making their periods a monumental challenge every month. Challenging the stigma young female students feel attached to their period is just one small part of the problem, but every small step is working towards bettering the education of these girls.

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