Tanzania: Call to Address Hygienic, Safe Menstruation

Girls and Menstrual Hygiene stakeholders are appealing to Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan's intervention and support to the inclusion of safe menstruation and hygiene in school curriculum both in Primary and Secondary Schools countrywide.

Briefing the Ilala District Commissioner (DC), Mr Raymond Mushi, who was representing the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Mr Paul Makonda during the Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) marked in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Miss Halima Akida, a primary school girl, appealed to the Vice-President's support to have the subject taught in schools to impart the girls with the right knowledge.

Miss Akida said the opportunity will educate girls about taboos, hygiene and reproductive health by empowering them with the required knowledge that they need as well as removing the long-standing social stigmas attached to menstruation.

In addition, WASH United has developed a menstrual hygiene management curriculum to educate about taboos, hygiene and reproductive health. Using our approach of fun, games and positive communication, the curriculum is designed for the training of teachers/trainers as well as of adolescent girls and boys.

Menstruation is a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health, yet in many cultures it is treated as something negative, shameful or dirty.

The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and in schools results in millions of girls having very little knowledge about what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and how to deal with it resulting to drop out from schools.

The girls' capacity to manage their periods is affected by a number of other factors, including limited access to affordable and hygienic sanitary materials and disposal options leaving many to manage their periods in ineffective, uncomfortable and unhygienic ways.

Miss Akida in her brief to the RC requested the government to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) on all products related with Menstrual Hygiene to allow more girls access to the much needed sanitary materials.

Speaking during the occasion on behalf of RC Makonda, Mr Mushi said the government is reviewing ways it can bring all responsible ministries to work on addressing the challenge. "We are also encouraging communities through school committees to establish special funds in schools that will also address issues of water and sanitation and make the environment conducive for girls," he added.

The Ilala DC commended all stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, UNICEF, Flaviana Matata Foundation, Msichana Initiative, WaterAid, and Kasole Secrets Company, manufacturers and suppliers of organic women health products, for preparing the event.

Initiated by WASH United, the Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated on May 28th annually around the world with exhibitions, film screenings, workshops and gatherings, aimed at breaking the silence around menstruation by confronting the stigmas attached to menstruation with collective advocacy, education and action

Source: Tanzania Daily News