Make sanitary pads affordable to all – INERELA+

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Sanitary Pads
Sanitary Pads

The International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV/AIDS (INERELA+ Ghana), a non-governmental organisation, has reiterated calls for government to remove all taxes placed on sanitary products to make it affordable.

The National Coordinator for INERELA+ Ghana, Mrs Mercy Acquah-Hayford who made the call, said this would enable women, especially young girls to have a dignified menstrual cycle in a hygienic way.

Currently, in Ghana, disposable sanitary pads attract an import tax of 20 per cent and a value-added tax of 12.5 per cent.

This is because, sanitary pads are categorised as luxury products per the Ghana Revenue Authority guidelines.

Speaking in an interview with the media on the sideline of a menstrual health awareness programme held for students of some selected schools in Accra, Mrs Acquah-Hayford bemoaned the continuous existence of the tax on pads.

She noted that many young girls were struggling to have a dignified menstrual life due to their inability to afford the sanitary products because they were expensive.

“I will say that the 20 per cent tax on sanitary products should be removed because there are certain things that should be taxed but not all, so, this one should not be taxed.

“Go into the communities and you will see that most people do not use these things, parents cannot afford. They can’t even afford meals for the children; how can they afford that one? So, that tax should be abolished so that people can afford it,” she emphasised.

The awareness programme, organised by INERELA+ Ghana, sought to educate and empower young girls on how to effectively manage their menstrual life in a more hygienic manner.

It was funded by the United Nations Women Trust Fund, and formed part of activities to commemorate this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Globally, 1.8 billion people menstruate every month, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates.

Millions of girls, women, transgender men and women and non-binary persons are unable to manage their menstrual cycle in a dignified, health way, said UNICEF.

Mrs Acquah-Hayford appealed to Government to consider giving out the pads out for free, especially to young girls who were in schools to help them manage their menstrual cycle effectively.

“We have seen the impact of the free meals given to the children in schools, so, sanitary pads should be given to them for free and I think that will help them a lot,” she said.

She cautioned young girls against the use of reusable pads, noting that, this could breed infections.
Madam Paulina Essel, a Professional Counselor and the resource person, encouraged girls not to shy away from being women because of the stigma that was sometimes associated with menstruation.

She advised them to prioritise cleanliness, especially when they were having their menses to ensure a healthy life.
She also emphasised the need for them to ignore all outmoded taboos that sought to denigrate them as women.

The NGO also distributed sanitary pads to all female students to enable them to have menstrual life in a dignified manner.

The Menstrual Hygiene Day is marked annually on May 28, to raise awareness about the issues faced by those who do not have access to sanitary products.

This year’s celebration is marked under the theme: “Making Menstruation a normal Fact of Life by 2030,” which aims to contribute in achieving an overarching goal by building a world by 2030 where no one is held back because they menstruate

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