A YOUTH activist has called for the removal of tax on essential materials that promote menstrual health and hygiene.
Mumbi Namwawa said this is in an effort to curb period poverty among societies.
She said menstruation was an un-optional privilege and procedure that should be enjoyed by every female and members of society.
“We live in an interdependent society hence each of us gets affected if other parties are prone to conditions that do not promote their wellbeing. There are many factors at come at play in ensuring that hygiene is obtained, starting from clean sanitary wear, adequate and efficient sanitary wear, safe dispose method, sufficient water etc,” she said. “All these are required for a health and safety of members of society. But this cannot be achieved without answering the question of ‘are these materials accessible to majority of females that are menstruating?’”
Namwawa said society needs to begin to rightly invest in ensuring all girls and women were having access to these services and it should be both sufficient and efficient.
“Also understanding that as countries we have many other things that are scarce, hence governments and CSOs cannot to some extent manage to give these services to all females,” she said. “We must then begin to empower the women and girls with skills and resources that can be used in making them become self-dependent on accessing these materials, either through making the materials or having capacity to purchase them.”
Namwawa said all stakeholders especially the government needed to see to it that they provide necessary services that promote menstrual health, such as providing clean water to communities that do not have access or cannot afford water and implementing the already signed bill of distributing free sanitary wear in schools.
“We also need to take the direction of removing tax on essential materials that promote menstrual health and hygiene. This is in the effort to curb period poverty among our societies,” she said. “Also to a large extent, we cannot separate menstrual hygiene and mental health. We need to orient all women, girls, about mental health and its relation to menstrual health.”
Namwawa said the failure to access and have sufficient menstrual materials can cause both emotional and physical discomfort which later results into mental health challenge in dealing with menstrual health.
“We further cannot forget the education of members of society especially males about menstruation and the role they play in complementing it. Otherwise kudos to all stakeholders, especially young people who have realised and are tirelessly fighting to achieve menstrual health and hygiene,” said Namwawa.
May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day and focuses on raising awareness on menstrual health across the world. This year’s theme is ‘Action and Investment in Menstrual Hygiene and Health”.