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Zimbabwe:Sanitary Wear So Expensive, Women Forced to Use Free Contraceptives

Photo: Masixole Feni/GroundUp

Many girls routinely skip up to a week of school every month because they don’t have sanitary pads.

MOST Zimbabwean women are now using contraceptives to avert their menstrual cycle due to prohibitive charges for sanitary wear, an MP has revealed.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said regular access to sanitary wear remains a challenge to most local women and young girls.

“There is policy discord; hospital officials are saying they are giving contraceptives for free, yet women are telling us that they are buying them at the hospitals,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

She was speaking on the side-lines of a public hearing on effects of hormonal contraceptives on women in hospitals in Zvishavane.

“There is an issue that is of concern to us; I came across young girls who said they are using contraceptives so that they do not experience their menstrual cycle because it is expensive to buy sanitary wear.”

The firebrand politician has been lobbying government to provide free sanitary wear to women and young girls countrywide.

She said while there was no clarity on government`s part on the issuance of contraceptives to underage girls there was a need for a look into the issue as some girls are indulging in sex.

“There is no clarity on at what point should we issue contraceptives to young girls. I think if a child is already sexually active it is ridiculous not to give them contraceptives,” she opined.

“If someone knows they are having sex the best way is to give them contraceptives.”

The issue of giving girls contraceptives has divided opinion with some parents insisting that school going children should not be given contraceptives while others are in support of the initiative.

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