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Sanitary towels for vulnerable women and girls in slums

A Mombasa-based charity organization Usaidi Women and Girl-child society has started distributing packets of free sanitary towels to vulnerable women and girls in slums at the coastal city.
The founder of the charity organization Peninah Kimeru Mwakio said many poor households in informal settlements cannot afford the sanitary pads due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.
Mwakio who spoke Friday, while on a visit to several slums in Mvita constituency of Mombasa said many households have lost income and that the pads were not a priority.
She said many organizations were distributing food items but have ignored the needs of poor girls and women following the covid-19 outbreak, adding that their hygienic needs are a public health concern.
“The situation forced us to intervene to help the vulnerable girls who are economically affected by the pandemic making them unable to access menstrual hygiene items,” she pointed out.
She called for an end to the stigma associated with menstruation saying it was affecting women and girls social economic activities during their periods.
Mwakio said women and girls living in the slum areas usually struggle to get sanitary products and their situation has worsened due to the prevailing economic hardships brought about by the viral disease.
She said all philanthropic acts seem to be focused on nutritional needs and not the poor girls’ necessities in the slums.
“We have initiated the program of sanitary towel distributions to ensure the girls from the informal settlements get free sanitary towels,” she said.
Nominated member of the Mombasa County Assembly (MCA) Moses Aran Oindo who accompanied the organization members during the distribution exercise said many families in slums do not consider sanitary pads important commodities due to their dwindling income.
He regretted the high cost of menstruation sanitary materials such that girls from poor backgrounds cannot afford hygienic sanitary pads.
By Hussein Abdullahi

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