Uganda: No budget for sanitary pads for school going girls

Girl’s supported by SIHA in their education through SIHA’s scholarship initiative

New Vision Uganda, a local daily newspaper reported in 2013 that 30% of Ugandan girls drop out of school due to their menstrual cycle. Some Ugandan girls reported that they feel discomfort during their cycle; others claimed that they are teased and bullied due to incidents of soiled clothing. In World Bank’s report it was highlighted that due to their menstrual cycle girls miss 4-5 days of school every month which leads to missing 10-20% of school days.

Sanitary pads are the only saviors in this situation however they are costly and unaffordable by average Ugandan families.  Lack of pads leads to girl’s restoring to using absorbents such as grass and tissue. Path reported in 2016 that menstrual practices such as using alternative absorbents e.g. grass or tissue contributes significantly to infections. Further, if these infections are untreated there is a higher chance of contracting HIV and other STIs which can lead to secondary infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

On the 14th of February 2017, Ministry of Education informed the Parliament’s Education Committee that the Ministry has no funding or budget for the providing sanitary pads for school going girls. This puts girls at a significant disadvantage; as they are likely to miss school days, be left behind in their education in comparison to their male counterpart and endanger their sexual reproductive health.