A non for profit organization, Eziokwu Ebubechukwu Foundation (EEF), has called on the federal government to remove taxation on sanitary pads and engage in its local production to make it less expensive and increase access to the product.
The foundation recently distributed sanitary pads and educational materials to students in Osun state, in an outreach tagged, ‘Book drive ‘Her Care’ to improve the livelihood of students in the rural areas.
The founder, Mr Ezeukoh Ebubechukwu, said the project became imperative aimed at ending period poverty and promoting shared prosperity of health rights toward improved girl-child education at the grass-root levels.
Ebubechukwu explained that government’s policy was needed to promote girl-child menstrual hygiene and keep them in school.
According to him, “In rural areas, girls do not have access to sanitary products. It is safe to say that majority of the girls in rural areas in the country cannot afford safe and hygienic sanitary pads for proper menstrual hygiene management.
“One of the major issues with period hygiene is that sanitary pads are not only expensive; especially with the current economic state of the country, but also cannot be reused. It is important that tax be removed from products such as this, and more local methods normalised with product prices being regulated. It will also be of great help if the government gave fee sanitary pads to teenage girls in secondary schools.
“Period products are a necessity and should therefore be exempted from taxation. The removal of tax will serve a great step towards ending period poverty because it reduces the price of pads.
“The campaign as a “grassroots initiative aimed at ending period poverty. We do this through raising awareness, advocacy, and lobbying policy makers to create policies that create equal access to period products,” he said.
Ebubechukwu also called for the sensitisation of adolescent girl child on menstrual health management to prevent environmental hazards associated with indiscriminate disposition of used sanitary pads.
He called on relevant authorities to include girl-child education and training in their responsibilities to reduce the risk factor associated with poor menstrual hygiene while in school.
He reiterated the foundation’s commitment to offer continuous support toward the eradication of poverty in most rural communities in the state.
The Project Coordinator, Mobolaji Olaore, said that the initiative would further ensure the encouragement of the girl-child in school.
According to him, “The issue of menstrual hygiene is considered sensitive, which shouldn’t be so. And this is only due to the lack of education within rural communities. This made us go into such communities to educate female students on the need to be aware of the effects of bad hygiene as well as discard the stigma during menstruation.
“The government needs to understand that menstrual hygiene is something that needs to be given the right attention. We have food schemes in various states where students are given meals during school times; the same can be done for menstrual hygiene. The girl child shouldn’t have to suffer for something that comes natural,” he added.
He said the high cost of sanitary pads was impeding the education of most girls from poor families especially in rural areas, where it was common for girls to stay out of school during menstruation.
This, he said, must not be allowed to prevail and called for policy interventions to address the problem.