Kimberly Kusauka/ Pepetua Murungweni
A crisis of lack of sanitary wear for women and girls has notably increased partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has worsened poverty levels in communities, it has been observed.
Colloquially referred to ‘period poverty’, the problem is endemic in rural areas where the country’s poorest live, but unemployment and job lay-offs due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns have seen the problem getting more pronounced in urban areas too.
Speaking at a Menstrual Health Management conference held in Masvingo recently, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) Marketing Officer Herbert Chikosi said many girls lacked access to dignified sanitary wear.
"Girls experience lack of appropriate sanitary products and a conducive environment where they can manage their period in a dignified manner, and this forces many girls to skip school," said Chikosi.
Speaking to TellZim News later on, Chikosi with support from Plan international Chiredzi and Divine Trust, ZNFPC was distributing sanitary pads to young girls and was also making reusable sanitary pads at their Tshovani Youth Centre.
"As ZNFPC, we are getting assistance from Plan International Chiredzi and Divine Trust and we are distributing pads to young girls and also making reusable pads at Tshovani Youth Centre,” said Chikosi.
He said the organisation was training young girls on making reusable sanitary pads on their own so that they are able to deal with period poverty in the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
"We are training young girls to make reusable pads on their own so that they are well-equipped to curb the period poverty especially during this pandemic," said Chikosi.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, ZNFPC offered free family planning services which include Jadelle, Implanon and Sayana Press for the whole week.
To help fight the secrecy and stigma around menstruation, ZNFPC is now including men in menstrual health management dialogues.