Chinhoyi (New Ziana) -The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called on the government to introduce a levy to be channeled towards producing sanitary wear, which the majority of girls and women, particularly in rural areas, cannot afford.
The proposal was made during a labour forum which the ZCTU recently held in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West province,
Thousands of girls miss school during their menstrual cycle as they would not have proper materials to absorb the period and avoid spotting.
Many women use unhygienic methods including unsterilised cloths and other materials which make them susceptible to urinary tract infections and other challenges.
A ZCTU official from Mashonaland West, Memory Makanya proposed the introduction of the levy, whose proceeds she said would also be used to establish systems of disposing the sanitary waste.
Makanya said the government should consider the issue seriously, since the menstrual cycle was a natural phenomenon for women during their reproductive years.
“The sanitary wear levy should be ring-fenced so that it is used for manufacturing and free distribution of sanitary pads to all women, and to fix the inadequate waste management facilities,” she said.
She said the sanitary wear should be distributed for free in retail shops, pharmacies, cosmetic stores as well as in schools and at work places.
The levy would apply to all formally employed workers and the funds channeled to manufacturing companies, thereby creating thousands of jobs while safeguarding the health of women and girls.
In addition to allocating funds in the National Budget, the Zimbabwe government has instituted a number of measures to make sanitary wear affordable to the marginalized women, including removing import duty and Value Added Tax on the products.