Eastern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Beauty Undi-Phiri has called on donors and Non-Governmental Organizations to consider providing free sanitary towels to girls in schools.
Speaking in Chipata during the handover of Madalitso Community School which was constructed with support from the Japanese government recently, Undi-Phiri said most girls, especially those from vulnerable families, shunned classes during their menstruation cycle due to lack of sanitary facilities like wash rooms and sanitary towels in schools.
She said if organisations and donors were able to provide free condoms to men and boys, girls could also be supported with free sanitary pads.
“I want to appeal to the donors out there, I want to appeal to the members of the public out there, that whilst we are giving out condoms for free, we are failing to give sanitary pads to our children. This is shameful to all of us and unfair to a girl child”, said Undi-Phiri.
She said the menstrual cycle should not be the reason why a girl child misses school.
“We need to help a girl child who normally is disgraced at that particular time and do not have the necessary facilities to take care of themselves. If we don’t sell condoms, then we need to give sanitary towels for free”, said Undi-Phiri.
“What I believe is that when we are talking about condoms, it is a choice, meanwhile a menstrual cycle is not a choice on a woman, it was given to us by the grace of God.”
She said government, working with other cooperating partners, should find ways in which girls in schools could be empowered with sanitary pads to allow them attend classes at all times.