Katswe To Petition Ministry of Health Over Free Sanitary Pads

…as women use rags and cow dung during periods

…Seeks two million signatures

PRO-Women rights group Katswe Sisterhood is mobilizing support for their “Happy Flow” petition which seeks among other things to gather not less than two million signatures to have government provide free sanitary pads and wear to women and girls.

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a Hwange Women demonstration, Katswe Sisterhood peer educator, Primrose Kavhumbura said the pricing for sanitary pads has gone beyond reach of many and women have resorted to using rags during their menstrual days.

“Women and girls end up using rags and other different things just to ensure we go through our periods. When we approached companies which manufacture Sanitary pads, they indicated that they can not reduce the price because they also have costs to meet which include high costs of raw materials and taxes.

“We are therefore petitioning the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in this regard. The ministry of health is currently spearheading a cervical cancer screening program. It is however difficult to end cervical cancer as long as women are using rags and other foreign objects during their periods,” said Kavhumbura.

[pullquote]The sanitary pads industry imports as much as 75 percent of its raw materials and operating has become more of a nightmare for the sector.[/pullquote]

However, Parliament and the civic society are pushing for command sanitary pads production which will see companies which manufacture sanitary pads importing raw materials at affordable rates leading to cheaper productions costs and a reduction in the price of the product.

Zimbabwe is currently facing challenges with the issue of availability and affordability of sanitary pads as two companies Onsdale (Farai pads) and Refreshing Sanitary Pads (Happy Sky pads) that manufacture the products are failing to get foreign currency to import raw materials.

The lowest priced small pack of sanitary pads is going for anything around US$4, which is on the high side especially for the girls from poor and rural backgrounds who are having to look for alternatives.





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