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Menstrual hygiene; Government urged to initiate sanitary programs in schools

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[Haki Africa Deputy executive director Salma Hemed. Photo/Pauline Kwamboka].

The national government has totally failed in enhancing menstrual hygiene programs in the country, gender and children’s rights defenders have said.

The defenders said though the government launched its sanitary program to the girl child last year, the project was later terminated subjecting the target group to drastic hygiene challenges.

Led by Haki Africa Deputy Executive director Salma Hemed, they said the government should revamp the program and safeguard the girl child’s health and dignity.

Girls forced to stay out of school

According to Ms Hemed, girls at the Coast are forced to stay out of school during their monthly flow.

She noted the national government should take fully charge of the girl health initiative and ensure girls remain at school

“A practical example is when a pupil is forced to remain at home at least one week every month, this simply translates to one month out of class in every school term,” she added.

She said if the government’s program was sustainable and long term, the problem would have been averted.

It is a government responsibility

“The government should not leave this responsibility yo gender activists it solemnly lies with the Health and Education ministries,” added Ms Hemed.

She also said revealed that girls in rural set-up are mostly affected with many girls feeling ashamed of revealing the same to their parents.

She said such shame and lack of ‘girl talks’ in school and at home especially in rural set-up has resulted into psychological suffering to many young girls who their parents cannot afford sanitary towels.

Apart from distributing sanitary towels to young girls in school, the government has also been tasked to initiate girl child forums in school so that many issues revolving around the girl child can be deliberated and solved.

“We are not only addressing the girl child health matters but the physically challenged too, they suffer the same psychological problems without any assistance,” noted the human rights defender.

She however appealed to gender and children’s rights defenders at the Coast to carry on with their efforts of collecting and distributing sanitary pads to needy students in school to ensure they remain in school.