Health advocate calls for tax waver on sanitary products

A health advocate Ms Wilhemina Minnow has called on government to support the fight against period poverty by wavering taxes on menstru­al products.

This she said would make such products affordable and make them more accessible to girls especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds .“Addressing menstrual poverty through improved access to menstrual products, proper hygiene facilities, and comprehensive menstrual educa­tion is crucial to empowering young girls and ensuring their over-all well­being,” she added.

She bemoaned that there were many girls who miss school during their periods due to the lack of sanitary pads, leading to a negative impact on their education and poten­tial opportunities.

Ms Minnow who is also a health professional mentioned that menstru­al discomfort and fear of leaks could discourage young girls from participat­ing in extra-curricular activities like sports, limiting their overall engage­ment and self-confidence.

“We cannot afford to put young girls through the pain of societal stigmatisation and shame surrounding menstruation because this can lead to emotional distress and can also affect their mental health to a large extent.”

“If policy makers do not ensure an end to menstrual poverty, a time will come that we cannot find any confi­dent young girl especially in deprived communities. Poor girls will lose confidence even before they become women. This is unacceptable,” she stressed.

Throwing more light on health risks associated with poor menstrual hygiene, the health advocate stated that using unhygienic materials during menstruation could increase the risk of infections and other health issues including, chronic candidiasis, Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), infertility and even birth complications.

She said, it is therefore very important for young girls to receive frequent education on the significance of proper menstrual management to promote overall wellbeing.

“Providing comprehensive and age-appropriate menstrual health education, both at home and in schools, to empower girls with knowl­edge about menstruation, hygiene and overall menstrual health is very important.”

“Also, teaching them about men­strual tracking is necessary to help them understand their cycles, which can help identify irregularities and potential health issues,” she added.

According to the healthcare giver, engaging boys and men about men­struation could equally help promote empathy and understanding while cre­ating a more inclusive and supportive environment.

 By Raissa Sambou

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