Health, Education, Research and Policy organisation (HERPol Africa), a Tamale-based non-governmental organisation, is asking government to scrap taxes on menstrual hygiene products especially sanitary pads.
To them, access to menstrual hygiene products are natural rights and not luxury.
Dr Osman Dufailu, Executive Director of HERPol Africa, who made the call, argued that “Considering that menstruation is a natural process instead of a choice or luxury, it must be a natural or moral right to support females, especially young girls undergoing this natural process.”
Dr Dufailu made the call when HERPol Africa visited Zangbalun Junior High School in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region to educate adolescent girls on the importance of knowing about their menstrual cycles and menstrual hygiene, the different types of sanitary pads and how to use them through practical demonstration.
The adolescent girls were taking through the use and maintenance of eco-friendly sanitary pads, safe and eco-friendly disposal of used sanitary pads to reduce the impact on the climate.
The event was in line with this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day awareness creation.
The World Menstrual Hygiene Day is marked on May 28, every year, to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management, and raise awareness about the issues faced by those, who do not have access to sanitary products.
Dr Dufailu said, “Menstruation is a natural process and must be a right for every young girl to have free and universal access to sanitary pads to support them.”
There is about 51 per cent tax on sanitary products in the country, which make them very expensive, where many young girls and women are not able to procure them to use during their menstrual periods.
This compels some young girls to miss classes during their menstrual period while others, who resort to use of unhygienic materials as pads, suffer some infections.
Dr Dufailu called for the inclusion of sanitary pads in the first aid kits or boxes in schools and workplaces where young girls would have universal rights and free access to pads to address the natural process.
He called on the United Nations, World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, governments, and all relevant bodies to make menstrual pads a part of first aid kit to give young girls across the world, universal access to them.
He touched on protecting the climate and called for policies to ensure that all manufactured or imported sanitary products were biodegradable.