AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has donated 5 million sanitary pads to women and girls in need, countrywide, amid Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration marked on Friday May 28, in Kigali.
Beneficiaries of the support in Kigali are identified by Nyarugenge District (95 beneficiaries), Kicukiro District (95 beneficiaries) and Gasabo District (120 beneficiaries); while other beneficiaries belong to rural Districts countrywide.
On the side of AHF, this year celebration is under the theme of “Sanitary Pads – “A Necessity, not a Luxury!” with aim to remind the community that even during COVID-19 pandemic, periods do not stop for pandemics, that it is vital to continuously think about Menstrual Hygiene (MH)
Speaking amid the event, Dr Brenda Asiimwe-Kateera, Country Program Manager, AHF Rwanda said: “Menstrual hygiene is a human right and is closely linked to rights to healthcare and education. To this day, many girls and women do not have regular access to sanitary pads and use sub-standard menstrual hygiene products, face stigma and shame and miss school or work during the menstrual cycle, Menstrual hygiene is a necessity, not a luxury. We call upon all actors to make it a priority and break down the barriers to access.”
Poor menstrual hygiene management restricts the mobility, freedom and choices of young women and girls everywhere; it affects attendance and participation in school and community life and further compromises their safety, causing stress and anxiety.
“I have an example of a young girl from a poor family who told me that when the time of menstrual period comes, she misses school attendance due to lack of sanitary pads. Looking at the cost of sanitary pads in our country, you realize that they are not affordable, especially to those young girls who have no source of income. So, there is a huge need of advocacy on having affordable pricing to help women and girls reach their full potential in the classroom, in the workplace and even at home.” Said Irene Kayitesi, AHF Rwanda youth ambassador.
Among other difficulties faced during menstrual periods include: the social stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation that often prevent women and girls from managing their periods safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame.
Every May 28th, non-profit, government agencies, private sector, media, and individuals come together to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) and advocate for the importance of an appropriate menstrual hygiene management (MHM), in order to promote good menstrual hygiene.
The date, May 28th was chosen to observe the day because on average the menstrual cycle for most girls and women is 28 days and the menstruation period for most girls and women is for five days. Hence, the date was kept as 28/5.
In a pictorial form