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Sanitary towels luxury to poor women, girls

By | March 24th 2010

Any woman or girl of reproductive age will agree that a comfortable way of managing menstrual flow is a basic necessity. This, however, is a luxury to many women in resource poor settings.

A recent study conducted by the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) and the Division of Reproductive Health, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, shows that "because pads are not always available, girls and women in the slum communities are forced to use cotton wool, pieces of cloth (including socks), tissue paper, pages torn from school exercise books, and pieces of sponge torn from mattresses to manage their menstrual flow".

Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Jacob Keidar (right) looks on as Mr Vimal Vaghela, manager, Doshi Group of Companies, hands sanitary towels to a girl from a school in Viwandani. [PHOTO: COURTESY/STANDARD]

This has far-reaching health implications for the many women and adolescent girls concerned.

Recently, Doshi group of companies donated a one-year supply of sanitary pads to 100 girls attending schools in Viwandani slums.

Promoting hygiene

The schools are under a project on promoting proper hygiene practices in schools within Korogocho and Viwandani slums. The project is being implemented by APHRC.

"Many of us miss school during that time of the month because we use pieces of cloth that often stain our dresses and it is so embarrassing," said one of the girls from a community school in Viwandani.

The Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Jacob Keidar was the chief guest at the ceremony and noted that education is an important asset that guarantees a better life and girls should not miss school because they have periods.

How you can be of assistance

Did you know that by donating Sh200 you can keep a girl in school for one year? A group of women have come together to form the SaniBank Consortium that sources for sanitary pads donations from overseas.

"We ask well-wishers to donate Sh200 to cover the shipping costs for the sanitary towels and then we give needy girls the pads for free," explained Bether Juma Kokach of the SaniBank Consortium.

The consortium can be reached at: [email protected]

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