GENERAL Education permanent secretary Henry Tukombe says government has not yet provided the promised free sanitary towels for girls in rural and peri-urban areas.

He was speaking when he appeared before the Public Account Committee in Lusaka today January 23, 2017.

“We haven’t received the free sanitary towels which government said will be distributed freely to girls in rural and peri-urban areas. Some girls fail to go to school due to lack of proper sanitary towels which has become a major concern to us,” Tukumbe said.

Tukombe said the ministry was currently planning to improve the disposal of sanitary pads mechanism in schools.

“Services of disposing used sanitary in schools have not been provided and as a ministry, we are trying to come up with structures that shall be used to dispose these used pads,” he said.

And Tukumbe noted that there was a high girl-child dropout rate due to pregnancies.

“The ministry is very concerned at the high dropout rate of girl child in schools. We started educating parents in rural areas the importance of education and so far we have covered almost all the 10 provinces,” said Tukumbe.

“We have continued to encourage such pupils to re-enter but the major problem is stigmatisation. They fear to be laughed hence they end up refusing to go back to school.”