By Felix Andrew
TANZANIA is mulling to remove importing taxes charged on sanitary towels to enable more female particularly in rural areas get the kit at affordable price.
This was said in a Parliament by the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu when responding to a question raised by Special Seat legislator, Stella Ikupa (CCM).
The legislator wanted the government to scrap tax imposed on sanitary to enable more women including pupils to get the kit at affordable price.
At the moment the price is too high which is a big problem in our country, there are some pupils who fails to attend subjects for even five days, the government should remove tax on sanitary pads , she said.
Responding Minister Mwalimu said it is true and the government is much concerned about the issue and has started to address it.
“We have wrote to the Ministry of Finance and Planning requesting to remove import tax on the sanitary pads, the move would lower price hence enable more get the kit,” she said
Explaining on the magnitude of the problem, she said there are some school girls who use leaves during menstruation period.
“This is a very big challenge in our country, it is my belief that the Ministry of Finance and Planning would work on our request to save these girls,” she said.
Research has estimated that one in ten African adolescent girls misses school while menstruating. Many eventually drop out because of menstruation-related issues.
These include the fact that affordable sanitary protection isn’t easy to access, the social taboos related to menstruation and the culture of silence that surrounds it.
Women and children tend to be most affected by this lack of hygiene. Researchers have pointed out that many reproductive infections are potentially triggered by poor menstrual hygiene management. These diseases can, if left unchecked, make women more vulnerable to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
Experts say Tanzania urgently needs proper policies about menstruation and sanitary towels that will help the country’s girls and young women.
They say next year’s education budget, policymakers and education practitioners should push for a special fund that will support nationwide free sanitary towels