By: Justicia Shipena
The minister in the Presidency, Christina //Hoebes, has handed over sanitary pads to mark Menstruation Hygiene Day.
The handover ceremony took place at State House on Tuesday.
//Hoebes at the handover said many women and girls around the globe are facing stigma, sidelined and treated unfairly due to this natural bodily function.
She said different sectors of interest ensure the rollout of meticulous educational programmes targeted at that group of people needing awareness.
“This is coupled with continuous support for our women and girls,” he said.
She added that for this reason, the Presidency donated 260 boxes of sanitary pads to regional governors for further distribution to identified schools across the country.
//Hoebes stated that each region would receive 864 sanitary pads.
She said that menstruation is a particularly salient issue as it profoundly affects the quality and enjoyment of education.
Furthermore, she said it remains critical for learning environments to continue with the provisions of access to menstrual hygiene strongly.
“This is also with hygiene materials and places to change, safe water and sanitation, and good hygiene practices like handwashing with soap and the safe dispensing of used products,” she said.
According to her, the school environment is unhealthy, gender discriminatory, and inadequate without these.
“While these 260 boxes might not address our national sanitary poverty, which is said to account for the high absenteeism rate at our schools.”
Hence, //Hoebes hopes the donated sanitary pads would carry home the message of a unified front in addressing negative issues arising from menstruation among the Namibian girl child.
//Hoebes added that the topic of menstruation is considered by many as a taboo and has many negative cultural attitudes associated with it.
Additionally, she added that last year in the National Assembly, the deputy minister of ICT, Emma Theofelus tabled a motion calling for a tax exemption to be imposed on menstrual products.
“This relief will enhance affordability by the girl child. By making this motion a reality, Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi announced shortly after that that the value-added tax on sanitary pads would be abolished to take effect in the 2022/23 financial year.”
The Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day held on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management at a global level. The German-based NGO WASH United initiated it in 2014.