BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GENDER activists have expressed concern over the prohibitive cost of sanitary wear, saying it compromised the rights of women to sexual reproductive health.
With inflation galloping, prices of basics and services skyrocketing, sanitary wear has not been spared.
A pack of 10 sanitary pads is costing between US$1,50 and US$2 and on average women use two to three packs per month depending on individual flow.
Katswe Sistahood programme manager Debra Mwase said the government should subsidised sanitary wear.
“We are deeply concerned about the cost of living and the impact it will have on marginalised women and girls. We hope the government can take stock of whether the tax break on the importation of raw materials used in the production of sanitary wear is reaching the consumer. Government should fulfil its commitment to provide sanitary wear to girls in schools as per the provisions of the Education Amendment Act,” Mwase said.
Women’s rights activist Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda said: “We need a clear policy and implementation. The government removed the duty on sanitary wear, but we need more effort. Zimbabwe grows cotton, we need to think in the long term, we need to produce our own clean sanitary wear, and we don’t want the recycled ones.”
While there is no customs duty on the importation of sanitary wear for women, when the pads land in the country many women can hardly afford them due to poor incomes.
Birth control pills and condoms are, however, free at clinics and local government hospitals.
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