MoH embraces private entities to ensure menstrual hygiene

ADDIS ABABA– Due emphasis has been given to involve private institutions and other actors to deliver quality menstrual hygiene services for women and girls, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said.

Tajebe Kumela, Public Health Protection Expert within the MoH made the above remark during the Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration hosted by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AFH) and concerned institution at Tesfa Birhan High School.

The Menstrual Hygiene Day was marked for 8th time nationally and for 11th time internationally with the aim of creating awareness on menstruation hygiene for the public.

Speaking at the occasion, Tajebe mentioned that MoH takes menstrual hygiene as one of its priority areas and it has been implementing different projects in concert with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders. Such partnership aims to enable institutions deliver quality service for girls with regard to menstrual hygiene products and facilities.

Multipurpose activities have also been underway to address the inaccessibility, awareness gap as well as supply challenges in different areas of the country.

The awareness raising activities not only focused sensitizing the society to end stigma and discrimination but to enhance its awareness. Thus, the awareness raising activity is now carried out in schools, women clubs, and women organizations.

“The government has cut import taxes on sanitary products from 30 percent to 10 percent,” he said, adding that there is ongoing activity to remove taxes on imported menstrual hygiene items to make sanitary pads affordable.

Moreover, efforts geared towards encouraging local manufacturers of  menstrual hygiene products. AFH is one of the charity organizations that are doing meaningful activities in supporting women and girls across the country, Tajebe elaborated.

“Not only making sanitary pads accessible to women, but such organizations are enabling them to manufacture the products locally.”

Alemtsehay Enyew from the Ministry of Education (MoE) stated that the inclusion of menstrual education in the curriculum plays a major role to encourage students at large. The MoE along with different ministries is working to install one wash facilities in schools across the nation.

She, however, highlighted the lack of adequate resource as the major constraint in implementing the facilities in the already existing schools. Absence of collaboration is also one of the challenges that draw efforts back from getting the desired outcome.

“Nonetheless, local and international organizations including AHF are executing various activities in supporting women and girls to get access to sanitary services which have significantly decreased school dropout and absenteeism.”

Achieving equal distribution of sanitary services would not be a reality by public institutions alone, thus, the concerted efforts of stakeholders is highly needed to address the crosscutting challenge that many girls and women have been facing face, she emphasized.

AHF Country Representative Mengistu G/Michael (MD) on his part highlighted that the organization has been offering sanitary pads and trainings for female students of Tesfa Birhan High school.

While providing free comprehensive HIV care services to patients is the major objective of the foundation, it is providing support for over 17 public health centers’ HIV program in the Capital.

The organization is also delivering similar support for different hospitals in Amhara, Oromia, and Sidama states and over 60,000HIV AIDS patients have received free treatment, care and support under the three modalities this year.

Under its partnership and advocacy program, the foundation gives training for students from high school, college and universities to prevent them from HIV and STI infections, reduce unplanned pregnancies, and support them to stay in school under Girls Act and young people program (YPP).

AHF has donated sanitary pads for the boarding school build by the First Lady while offering Addis Ababa University equipment which help them manufacture reusable sanitary pad, the country representative remarked.



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