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BUSOGA: Girls resort to sponge, soil-made pads for menstrual hygiene

In Busoga, A piece of mattress is cut , washed and becomes reusable pad (Photo/Via @NTV Uganda)

Jinja, (UG): In Buyala Village Budondo sub-county, Jinja district, amidst the struggle to make ends meet, there is a silent crisis as young school girls face challenges accessing proper sanitary pads since destitution has become a major problem in the region.

Desperate measures hence emerge as girls try to grapple with menstruation quandary. They resort to unsanitary means to address menstrual hygiene, using polythene bags, sand and even torn dirty mattresses.

Liz (not her real name) a senior four student says she has been using this method since 2019. She delineates that she learned this method from her grandmother.

Soil is packed measurably into two polythene bags, small holes are then created and wrapped in a cloth and then placed in the middle of the nickers. to absorb the menses.

Liz relates internal truancy and isolation from her fellows during her menstruation for fear of blood dotting her clothes and embarrassment since it’s not an efficient method.

Another primary six pupil, who first experienced menstruation in 2023, recounted how she started menstruation and her parents were unable to provide money to buy pads since they at times go hungry without money to spend on food Her only option was to cut small pieces of mattress, which she uses to pad herself.

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A girl holds her sand wrapped with a face towel that acts as a sanitary pad. Photo/NTV Uganda

Unfortunately, these young girls have no idea of the various infections they can contract by using these primitive methods and besides they have no other option since they can not afford to buy them.

Despite the efforts by civil society organizations to educate teens on hygienic menstruation, many families cannot afford all the costs of buying pads. They noted that the government is too parsimonious to provide sanitary wear to girls whilst they can not fulfill their pledges, they should markdown on the sanitary pad prices to become affordable to people, a pad currently in Uganda costs between UG. shs  3000 and 5000

Claire Ataliba, a senior nursing officer at Budondo Health Centre IV warns of the health risks associated with these methods, she maintains that the soils cause discomfort and make them susceptible to serious urinary tract infections

While campaigning in the Lango sub-region in 2015, President Museveni promised that if elected back into power, his government would provide school-going girls with sanitary pads so that they do not run out of school when their menstruation starts.

The promise was supposed to be effected in the 2017/2018 financial year budget in which the sector has been allocated Shs2.8 trillion.

However, the government through the education minister, Ms Janet Museveni expressed regrets about the president’s pledge to supply sanitary pads to primary schools citing that such a project requires huge amounts of funds to cover the entire country and to be sustainable.

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The girls in the region request to be provided with sewing machines for their sustainability since they can not be dependent on people each time they need to purchase sanitary pads

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