IN an effort to address the challenges faced by girls in accessing sanitary pads and ensure uninterrupted education, Tanzanian health authorities announced on Friday plans to install sanitary pad vending machines in all public schools. The initiative aims to combat the significant loss of study days experienced by girls, estimated to be between 30 and 40 days annually due to a lack of access to sanitary pads.
Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu highlighted the importance of the vending machines, stating, ‘The vending machines will enable girl students to access the sanitary pads whenever they needed them at 200 Tanzanian shillings.’ The launch of the sanitary pad vending machine took place at Bunge secondary school in the capital city of Dodoma, ahead of the upcoming Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28.
Mwalimu praised Lulu Ameir, the founder and CEO of Bela Vendor, for her innovative solution and emphasised the positive impact the machines would have on girls in schools. She further pledged the government’s commitment to ensuring that girls’ education is not disrupted due to the unavailability of sanitary pads.
Lulu Ameir pointed out that surveys have indicated a direct link between the lack of access to sanitary pads and poor academic performance among girls. The introduction of the vending machines is expected to address this issue, enabling girls to manage their menstruation with dignity and focus on their studies.
Menstrual Hygiene Day, observed annually, serves as a global platform to raise awareness about menstrual care and the challenges faced by those without access to sanitary products. The theme for this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day is ‘Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030,’ emphasising the importance of ensuring menstrual hygiene is a fundamental aspect of everyday life.
The installation of sanitary pad vending machines in Tanzanian public schools marks a significant step towards promoting menstrual health and empowering girls to pursue their education without interruption.