We commemorated the 28 May Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021 by gaining a deeper understanding of the specific problems posed for managing menstrual health and hygiene especially in post COVID-19 we conducted a community dialogue bringing together professionals who work in the WASH and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) fields and stake holders including cultural leaders, school teachers, parents, girls and boys. The dialogue organized to mark 28 May Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021 attracted 61 participants from Northern Uganda.
"I was really worried about my family since all public activities were suspended and my family depended on the market to earn income. Like many other girls, I felt unsafe when all small shops closed. It has been difficult for girls in the community to get sanitary and hygiene products during this pandemic, many have been exposed to worse challenges such as forced marriage I almost lost my pride" Says Daphine 15 years- “Due to lack of sanitary pad supply, females are depending on using traditional cloth napkins. Many of them don’t know the proper way of cleaning it and likely there is ample scope for bacterial infection.” According to Plan International, in Uganda 28% of girls miss school because they are menstruating. They meet challenges in access and affordability of menstrual products for example pads and end up improvising with materials that are not hygienic such as cow dung, old used clothes among others, lack of proper sanitation infrastructure both in schools and at homes and those that have them are in a really poor condition with no doors or the women and girls have to share the facilities with men and boys and insufficient knowledge of menstrual hygiene management. This is indeed a worrying situation that calls for joint efforts by all implementing partners. Through the pandemic period, we continued manufacturing and distributing our locally made sanitary pads reaching out over to 2,850 girls and women Distributing pads alone is not enough. We have been conducting MHM education targeting girls, boys, women, and men to addressing stigma, education, and leadership
We are joining the world and we believe;- A world without period poverty and stigma is possible. We cannot wait for the Covid-19 pandemic to end. We need to step up action and investment in menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) NOW!
Our Healthy Periods initiative produces pads benefiting 5,000 schools going girls and women monthly in Northern Uganda. We are improving access to sanitary products and menstrual education among girls and boys.
To ensure access to menstrual products in the communities that we serve we need to double our investment, collaborate more and call for action to all stakeholders especially the government of Uganda to remove taxes on menstrual products. We hope you will join us and consider donating to this special #MHDAY2021 Click https://www.globalgiving.org/39549
Learn more about our work at https://www.vacnetwork.org