Review taxes on sanitary pads – Govt told

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The Network of Professional Women in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WiWASH), a civil society organisation, has reiterated the call to government to scrap taxes imposed on menstrual products.

In Ghana, sanitary pads are considered luxury items and attract taxes imposed by the government but WiWASH believes the taxes, if scrapped, will reduce the cost of sanitary towels on the market and making it accessible to young girls.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic at Ashaiman on the sidelines of activities marking this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day last Wednesday, the Secretary of WiWASH, Solace A. M. Akomeah, said available data indicated that whereas most girls used and considered disposable sanitary pads a necessity to preserve hygiene, self-confidence and dignity, they were costly as the product was subjected to 20 per cent import taxes in Ghana.

She thus called on the government to review the tax rates on the products.

Menstrual Hygiene Day

As part of activities marking the day, members of WiWASH embarked on an educational programme on menstrual hygiene for learners at the Ashaiman ‘A’ and ‘B’ Presbyterian as well as Church of Christ  schools in the Greater Accra Region.

They also donated sanitary materials including 24 boxes of sanitary pads, gallons of liquid soap, boxes of carbolic soaps and bundles of toilet and paper towels to about 300 pupils in the Ashaiman Municipality to support their menstruation and menstrual hygiene management.

Ms Akomea urged the government to build menstruation-friendly situation in deprived schools to make menstrual management pleasurable for girls because all women and girls should be able to manage their menstruation hygienically, safely in privacy and with dignity.

 Period Poverty

She said although there had been significant progress in the lives of women in recent years, there was still period poverty, where people lacked access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities, waste management or a combination of those, which affected an estimated 500 million.

The Ashaiman Municipal School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Coordinator Becca Arthur noted that although menstruation was  a natural and vital part of a woman’s life, it remained shrouded in silence and stigma in many societies.

She said the lack of awareness and access to menstrual health materials and resources could have profound consequences on the health, education and overall well-being of girls and women and called for an all-inclusive advocacy to  foster an environment that promoted empathy, support and inclusivity.

“By encouraging boys to participate in this discussion, we hope to create a generation of young men who are knowledgeable, compassionate and respectful towards the experience of their female peers,” she said.

Avoid distraction

The Head of Human Resource, Ashaiman Municipal Education Directorate, Mabel  Adehenu, said due to period poverty, most girls were exploited by young men and adults who lured the girls into transactional sexual relationships in exchange for sanitary towels.

She advised the young girls to remain focused and not be distracted by such advances and offers from young boys and men in order to help them achieve their academic goals.

As part of the events, a public health nurse at the Ashaiman Polyclinic, Pascalina Abohor, took the learners through menstrual hygiene management.

She also demonstrated to the young girls how to properly wear sanitary pads, the demonstrations were assisted by a male student, Martin Ayiku, a form two student of Ashaiman Presby A Basic School as part of an all-inclusive advocacy to foster an environment that promotes empathy, support and inclusivity.

Source: Graphic Online

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