Monday, September 20, 2021
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‘Lack of menstrual health management policy increasing stigma’

Herbert Chikosi

Veeslee
Mhepo

MASVINGO
Lack of a Menstrual Health Management (MHM)
policy in Zimbabwe has made it hard for stakeholder intervention, and has increased stigma especially in schools and rural
areas, the country’s birth-control authority has said.

The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council
(ZNFPC) feels there is a huge gap in Sexual Reproductive Health Rights without
a policy on MHM.

ZNFPC Masvingo provincial marketing officer, Herbert
Chikosi said lack of MHM policy had a negative impact on girls and young women
as they face stigma and stereotypes.

“The disadvantage of not having MHM policy is
seen in the stigma that our young girls and women suffer. All the myths around
menstruation must stop and an MHM policy would help in creating environments
that are girl-friendly especially in schools and work places,” said Chikosi.

He said such a policy would ensure enough data
and enlightenment on MHM and help in the assessment of the value of sanitary
wear which is still very expensive for many consumers, with girls in rural
areas being the most affected.

Chikosi said his institution will keep on
engaging other organizations, policy makers, leaders and traditional leaders on
MHM-related issues.

MyAge Zimbabwe executive director Onward Gibson
said to ensure sustainability on access to sanitary and MHM services, there had
to be a policy which would make it easier for stakeholder intervention.

He said such a development would ensure that
girls and young women do not have to miss school owing to a non-friendly menstrual
health needs environment.

Gibson said MyAge Zimbabwe was also working for
an MHM policy and ensure that communities had enough information on MHM.

“MyAge Zimbabwe works with communities to
ensure that myths, taboos and stigma around menstruation are addressed by
providing women, girls, men and boys with information on menstruation.

“We believe that this will facilitate in
breaking the silence around menstruation, ensure that women and girls
menstruate in a safe and hygienic environment and that menstrual waste is properly
disposed,” he said.

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