Women parliamentarians under the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) have called on government to make mandatory provision of sanitary towels for all school-going girls in the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme.
The call was initiated by the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, after she told the legislators during UWOPA’s Annual General Meeting at Parliament on Friday that several girls, especially in the rural areas, continue to drop out of school due to lack of sanitary towels when they undergo their monthly periods.
“We still have a long way to enable the girl child not only to be in school but stay there. I know that UWOPA had brought a motion to compel government to make sanitary towels part of the UPE materials. It is still an area to be addressed and the women have to bring up the matter to government,” Ms Kadaga said.
Ms Kadaga’s call comes on the backdrop of pleas by several women and child rights activists for government to intervene.
A 2012 study carried out by Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and the International Water and Sanitation Centre in seven districts showed that about half of the girl pupils in the study reported missing 1-3 days of primary school per month. The study revealed that at least 60 per cent of the girl pupils absent themselves from school during their menstruation.
Ms Kadaga urged UWOPA to continue lobbying for several reforms that benefit women, including removal of taxes on key gender commodities like family planning and the mama kits.