Women and girls in low income areas are faced with many challenges when it comes matters menstrual hygiene predominantly because they lack resources. These means they cannot manage their periods safely or with dignity.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck many have faced challenges of shame and emotional torture as they have limited access to sanitary products, clean water and safe and private toilet facilities hence many of them suffer from stigma and embarrassment as a result.
In this decade little has changed as many women and girls living in low income areas in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to face practical and psychological challenges in managing menstruation.
After imposing measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, it has made things worse for them.
The measures for the case in Kenya include restrictions of movements, closure of some businesses and imposure of curfew. These restrictions have lead to devasted economic effects and people are struggling to make ends meet hence making difficult for women and girls to access sanitary products as they can’t afford to buy them.
Access to water has always been an issue and due to these Covid-19 restrictions majority of households lack safe and clean water as the requirement that people wash their hands to stop the the spread of the virus is adding pressure on this limited resource.
Further schools are closed there are girls who were receiving the sanitary pads in public schools and right now they can’t get them. It’s in public domain that four million school girls in public schools in Kenya receive sanitary products through government’s Sanitary Towel Programme and since the schools are closed they haven’t accessed them, this has complicated their life in managing the periods hence they resort to unhygienic materials that expose them further to health risks.
To help our mothers, sisters and wives we must take collective responsibility to ensure those who are unable to access these facilities are helped to prevent emotional and psychological torture they might undergo as the government also plans to make the products affordable and accessible to all.