SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE
Government has failed to fulfil its promise to provide free sanitary wear to underprivileged women and school children who are exposed to serious health risks as they are forced to use harmful alternatives, it has been learnt.
Last year, the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration said it has set aside ZWL$200m for procurement of sanitary wear this year for the underprivileged across Zimbabwe.
It even removed import duty and value added tax for sanitary wear, which had proved expensive for many ordinary women and school children with some resorting to unsafe alternative methods.
The promise has not been fulfilled, a year on.
Consequently, women and girls in Manicaland province are now up in arms with the government which has failed to deliver on its promises, amid claims that many women and girls from low income families are now using unorthodox materials to cope as they cannot afford to buy the sanitary pads.
The government assured women they would access the product but many told Business Times they have not received anything.
The women said the absence of such essentials has led to some seeking alternatives that are not recommended by Ministry of Health officials.
It is also understood that some school going girls are missing lessons during menstruation due to lack of proper sanitary wear.
Mildred Muzanechita, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development Manicaland coordinator said it was disheartening the sanitary wear has not been delivered despite the government setting aside a budget for young girls in schools to receive free sanitary wear.
Muzanechita said her organisation had tried to track where such products had been delivered, they found none.
“As an organisation we have made efforts to trace where the sanitary wear was supplied, we did not get any, so we are worried,” Muzanechita said.
Proportional representation legislator, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, called on the government to do more on fulfilling its promised commitment to availing free sanitary wear to vulnerable girls and women in rural and urban areas.
“It is my appeal that the government scales up the supply of such essentials to the girls and women in the country as the situation is dire.
We need action and it is now that we need to see the government doing something tangible for the women folk,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.