The national female youth Member of Parliament (MP) says together with the National Women’s Council, they are mobilizing all female leaders in the country to ask for underwear factories across the country.
While receiving a donation of sanitary towels and knickers for 800 teenage mothers in Kasese District yesterday, national female youth MP Phiona Nyamutoro further said they are launching a campaign to organise women leaders in the country to voice their concerns on the importance of addressing challenges girls face with menstrual hygiene in the country.
“We want to push government to fulfil its pledge of making sanitary pads accessible for the girl child, especially school going ones. It would be very good if government invested in factories in different parts of the country so that sanitary pads and underwear are available,” she said.
She explained that their demands for action also follow recent media reports that prevalent teenage girls in Kasese District and other parts of Uganda are getting pregnant due to engaging in sex with men in exchange for money to buy sanitary pads and underwear.
The national treasurer for Uganda National Women’s Council, Norah Akwi said as an organization which has been dealing with parenting, they have realized that menstrual hygiene still remains a big national challenge.
“Government has not done much to address the challenges girls face with menstrual hygiene. We are advocating that factories for underwear and sanitary pads are set up in every sub region so that girls can access them cheaply,” she advised.
She highlighted that the previous strategies of depending on well-wishers and donors to contribute towards the purchase of underwear and sanitary towels to needy girls is not sustainable since the types of vulnerability have changed.
She disclosed that a news video run on local media showing girls trading sex for sanitary pads and underwear triggered criticism as several women approached the council asking “what they were doing.”
The marketing and communications officer at Afripads, Gertrude Adeker Emojong told Daily Monitor that they have since been approached by Reach a Hand Uganda, a company dealing with menstrual hygiene and reproductive health of young women in the district- to help address issues of teenage pregnancies.
In response, Afripads Foundation donated underwear and sanitary pads worth Shs24m to 800 teenage mothers in Kasese district.
Prior to the 2016 polls, President Museveni in his campaigns promised to provide free sanitary pads to school going girls when re-elected. To date, the promise has never been fulfilled.