Girls unable to access sanitary pads during COVID-19 pandemic – Migori Woman Rep

Girls unable to access sanitary pads during COVID-19 pandemic – Migori Woman Rep

Migori Woman Rep Pamela Odhiambo is urging the Education Ministry to release sanitary pads which had already been purchased for learners for distribution in the advent of COVID-19.

According to Dr. Odhiambo, many girls especially those from the poor families are not able to access sanitary pads and therefore it would not be proper to wait until the pandemic to give them the pads.

She said the sanitary pads which have already been brought to the sub county education officers can be handed over to headteachers who can reach the girls who are in dire need.

Dr. Odhaimbo said schools in collaboration with local administration and her office can come up with a criterion to give out the pads to the girls rather than waiting until post-COVID19.

legislator said many girls have been subjected to various forms of abuses by people who have taken advantage of their desperate situation.

Dr. Odhiambo has also urged the Children’s Department to step up the fight against child abuse in the county.

According to the legislator, the department has been attenuated by the ongoing fight against COVID19.

She also urged the parents to play their role effectively and guild their children so that they don’t fall victims of abuse.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the COVID-19 pandemic will have secondary impacts on girls’ and women’s ability to manage their menstruation and their health.

In a brief titled Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and menstrual health and hygiene, the UN agency avers that the impacts will vary based on the country context and ability to respond through social protection and health systems.

“An estimated 1.8 billion girls, women, and gender non-binary persons menstruate, yet millions of menstruators across the world cannot manage their monthly cycle in a dignified, healthy way,” UNICEF says.

In the advent of coronavirus, the agency says the most affected will be the poorest and most vulnerable to economic and social shocks; certain occupations will bring greater vulnerability.

Even in the best of times, gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services often cause menstrual health and hygiene needs to go unmet. In emergencies, these deprivations can be exacerbated.

The result is far-reaching negative impacts on the lives of those who menstruate: restricting mobility, freedom and choices; reducing participation in school, work and community life; compromising safety; and causing stress and anxiety.

UNICEF recommends that relevant agencies should provide menstrual materials as part of  (Non-Food Items) NFI and food assistance for girls and women with limited movement or in camps or institutions.

It further urges identification of those who are most marginalised and hard to reach, incorporate measures to reach them, and monitoring whether such measures are effective.

This includes girls and women with disabilities, those in conflict-affected contexts, and those in remote and rural communities: adapt formats as needed to reach those who may be hearing and visually impaired, or low-literacy.