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» » » ‘Lack of menstrual health management policy increasing stigma’

Herbert Chikosi

Veeslee Mhepo

MASVINGO - Lack of a Menstrual Health Management (MHM) policy in Zimbabwe has made it hard for stakeholder intervention, and has increased stigma especially in schools and rural areas, the country’s birth-control authority has said.

The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) feels there is a huge gap in Sexual Reproductive Health Rights without a policy on MHM.

ZNFPC Masvingo provincial marketing officer, Herbert Chikosi said lack of MHM policy had a negative impact on girls and young women as they face stigma and stereotypes.

“The disadvantage of not having MHM policy is seen in the stigma that our young girls and women suffer. All the myths around menstruation must stop and an MHM policy would help in creating environments that are girl-friendly especially in schools and work places,” said Chikosi.

He said such a policy would ensure enough data and enlightenment on MHM and help in the assessment of the value of sanitary wear which is still very expensive for many consumers, with girls in rural areas being the most affected.

Chikosi said his institution will keep on engaging other organizations, policy makers, leaders and traditional leaders on MHM-related issues.

MyAge Zimbabwe executive director Onward Gibson said to ensure sustainability on access to sanitary and MHM services, there had to be a policy which would make it easier for stakeholder intervention.

He said such a development would ensure that girls and young women do not have to miss school owing to a non-friendly menstrual health needs environment.

Gibson said MyAge Zimbabwe was also working for an MHM policy and ensure that communities had enough information on MHM.

"MyAge Zimbabwe works with communities to ensure that myths, taboos and stigma around menstruation are addressed by providing women, girls, men and boys with information on menstruation.

“We believe that this will facilitate in breaking the silence around menstruation, ensure that women and girls menstruate in a safe and hygienic environment and that menstrual waste is properly disposed," he said.

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