Deputy Minister of Education Monica Chang’anamuno says the first step towards promoting menstrual hygiene among girls is not to regard it as a woman’s issue, but a developmental issue.
She made the remarks on Tuesday when Lilongwe Msinja South legislator Francis Belekanyama (Malawi Congress Party) in conjunction with Girls Activists Youth Organisation, donated sanitary pads, underwear and soap to girls to promote menstrual hygiene.
Chang’anamuno said women and girls, especially those from poor communities, face disadvantage because they fail to access sanitary pads due to financial challenges.
“That is why government removed value added tax on sanitary pads to ensure they are available so that no girl should miss school,” she said.
Belekanyama said there were myths surrounding menstrual hygiene which needed to be addressed.
“It has come to my knowledge that many young girls are missing school during their periods because of lack of pads and changing rooms in their schools,” he said.
In an interview, Public health specialist Mary Shawa said it is high time parents started talking to their children about menstrual hygiene issues.
“This will give children proper information on the issue,” she said.
One of the learners, Alinafe Joseph said it was expensive to buy sanitary pads.
Menstrual Hygiene Day was commemorated under the theme ‘Break the Silence: End Menstrual Poverty’.
The day falls on May 28 every year.