Covid-19 disrupts sanitary wear distribution in rural schools

The closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the distribution of sanitary wear for girls in rural areas, Parliament has heard.

Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi made these remarks during the Question and Answer session, Wednesday while standing in for the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema.

He was responding to MP Tatenda Mavetera who had asked whether the government had put any policies in place to ensure that girls access sanitary wear during periods when schools are closed.

“Madam Speaker, the proposal is very difficult to implement. When learners are at home, you do not know where to follow them. The programme was targeted for the period when schools are open that then they are able to access sanitary wear,” said Minister Ziyambi. 

“Unless if an arrangement can be made. I will request the relevant Ministry to find out whether when schools are closed they can then have a mechanism for those learners going to school to access the sanitary wear. The policy generally is they have to have access to the sanitary wear.”

MDC-T Legislature Dr Thokozani Khuphe emphasised that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should be consistent in disbursing sanitary wear funds.

She said most girls in rural areas do not afford hygienic commercial products hence they end up resorting to ones that may compromise their health. 

“Honorable Minister (Ziyambi), 72% of girls in rural areas do not use commercial sanitary wear.  However, they resort to unhygienic means.  At the same time, 62% of girls miss school every month while menstruating. Has the Minister of Finance and Economic Development released adequate funding for sanitary wear in line with the Education Amendment Act on the provision of menstrual health facilities to promote menstrual health?”

Minister Ziyambi explained that schools that had not collected their funds were encouraged to liase with their respective offices to do so.

“Madam Speaker if my memory serves me well, the Deputy Minister (of Primary and Secondary Education) indicated that those who have not yet collected should get in touch with their offices so that they can facilitate.  He confirmed in this August House that indeed something was happening,” said Minister Ziyambi. 

“I may not have the finer details but what I can confirm is that funds were released and there is a programme that is ongoing regarding sanitary wear to our school-going girls in rural areas.”

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