The current increase in prices of basic commodities is the worst nightmare for any parent with a female child in the remote areas of the country.
Due to the tough economic conditions facing Zimbabwe, young girls in rural areas will be forced to resort to substitute means for sanitary pads, due to their inability to purchase them.
In Binga for instance, young girls have reportedly resorted to rigged cloth and cotton as a replacement for sanitary pads and those are not only ineffective, but they are also dangerous due the risk associated with them; diseases infection.
Some young girls in that area are actually skipping school as a result of their inability to obtain sanitary wear and the authorities should look at cases like that with broad eyes.
It is high time government, through the Ministry of Health, consider allocating free sanitary wear to sidelined places around the country regularly.
I have always been a big critique of the move to distribute condoms in rural areas instead of sanitary pads, because the last time I checked, premarital sex is optional, but mensuration isn’t, hence it would make more sense if government considers giving citizens in remote areas free sanitary wear and not condoms.
Young girls in rural areas can make do without many things, but sanitary pads are not one of them. They are more than a necessity and I’m pleading with the government to chip in and help end the problem.
Some families in rural areas live off a very small budget and believe it or not, in some family set ups, sanitary pads are actually regarded as luxury. Such misconceptions can only be stamped out by government’s intervention.
The same way government finds it necessary to dish out free grain to citizens in the rural areas is the same way they ought to distribute sanitary wear because it is a basic necessity.
No child should miss school because of lack of sanitary wear, no child should endure difficulties as a result of inability to afford sanitary wear, hence government should consider distributing sanitary wear in remote areas of the country.
Michelle Makata is a trainee journalist at Harare Polytechnic School of Journalism and Media Studies. She writes in her personal capacity.