THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt Development (Zimcodd) has made some very shocking observations that should jolt the nation out of the debilitating stupor that is currently fogging its conscience.
In one of its latest findings, Zimcodd noted that: “Women and girls face numerous challenges in managing their menstrual cycle as pads and other supplies may be unavailable or unaffordable. Many women without access to menstrual products improvise with old blankets, toilet paper, rags, newspapers, mud and even cow dung.”
Oh gosh! What abomination is this?
What a disgraceful embarrassment for a country hoping to attain upper middle-income status by 2030 to still have the majority of half of its citizens having no access to basic personal sanitation items such as sanitary pads.
And if the majority of Zimbabwean women and girls, who make up 51% of the country’s population, are struggling or totally failing to access something as basic as cotton wool in a country that grows some of the world’s best cotton, then we might as well forget that this nation will ever make any meaningful progress towards uplifting itself.
At this rate, even the country’s rallying call “Leaving no one and no place behind” sounds very hollow when our women and girls have been left so far behind in the Stone Age, where they are still using cow dung and mud as sanitary wear.
It boggles the mind why this issue has never received the full attention it deserves at both local and national levels.
Some time back, one legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is now ambassador to Sweden, fought a lone battle in Parliament on this issue demanding that women and girls should have free or affordable access to sanitary wear.
The lady will obviously disappear from the Swedish public spaces for a while if she gets to hear that back home, things have deteriorated from bad to worse for her fellow women folk who have been thrown into the medieval Stone Age era.
It is quite curious why other parliamentarians did not take up Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s spirited fight for women and girls to have easy access to sanitary wear ever since she left the country.
While it seems everyone has adopted the ‘each person for themselves and God for us all’ attitude on this matter, we should not lose sight of the naked fact that this situation is a humiliation to us all.
Wherever we go, if you introduce yourself as a Zimbabwean, expect to meet this response: “Oh, so I hear you are still using cow dung and mud as sanitary wear in Zimbabwe.”
That we are failing as a country to make our own sanitary wear, and depend on expensive imports, perplexes. And that we are failing to value-add our own cotton into affordable sanitary wear means all our blueprints such as the National Development Strategy 1 are just paper tigers.