The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, 28 May 2015 launched the Menstrual Hygiene Charter, which seeks to promote hygiene and the rights of the girl-child in Uganda.
This was during celebrations to mark the International Menstruation Day that is celebrated on the 28th May every year.
During the launch, the Speaker called on government to support menstrual hygiene and provide sanitary pads to all female school going children.
“It is very important to improve the hygiene of girls and women by providing the necessary requirements to improve their health, education and dignity as girls and women in society. Government ought to construct proper and improved sanitary facilities in all schools in Uganda,” Rt. Hon Kadaga said.
She expressed concern over ignorance of menstrual hygiene in the communities and urged government and responsible organisations to increase sensitisation for people to understand that menstruation in women is normal.
According to a UNICEF report, it is estimated that about 23 percent of adolescent girls between the ages 12-18 years that start experiencing menstrual periods lack adequate menstrual protection such as sanitary pads.
The Minister of State for Teso Affairs, Hon. Christine Amongin said that menstruation has greatly affected the girl-child in the rural areas of Uganda both culturally and socially. She also urged government to extend proper sanitation programmes like reusable pads to rural schools in Uganda.
“Most rural areas suffer stigma due to inadequate water to clean and wash their bodies and insufficient skills to manage menstrual hygiene,” Hon. Amongin said.
Hon. Amongin identified the lack of appropriate disposal facilities as one of the psychological and physical pains that school going female children undergo during menstruation periods.
She appealed to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and civil society to continue supporting the girl-child by ensuring that there is access to sanitary materials and information.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary WASH Forum, Hon. Jalia Bintu, speaking at the launch of the menstrual charter said that government needs to follow international standards in promoting hygiene in women.
She also tasked Government to construct toilets and water systems along all major highways and in schools as a way of promoting health and sanitation in the community.
“This year, we celebrate the World Menstruation Day under the theme ‘Act on Menstruation Without Hesitation’ therefore, government should integrate proper systems of improving sanitation by constructing separate toilets for both boys and girls in schools and other public places,” Hon Bintu said.
Hodan Addou, the UN Women representative to Uganda, also urged government to increase funding towards menstrual hygiene.