If State provides male condoms, why not free sanitary pads?- Lawyer moves to court on this question

May 28th marks World Menstrual Hygiene Day

Girls' Empowerment/Image Courtesy

It is considered a taboo topic in most countries around the world discussing menstrual health and more so, menstrual hygiene.

15 – 40% of girls in the developing world do not attend school during their periods. This is due to lack of access to sanitary napkins, toilets, sanitation and adequate privacy.

World Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated annually on 28th May aimed at breaking the silence and taboo.

The day serves to raise awareness and change negative social norms surrounding menstrual hygiene management around the world.

In light of this, a petition has been filed at the Milimani Law Courts seeking to have the government provide free sanitary towels to girls in public schools.

Elvis Begi Nyachiro Abenga, a lawyer and the petitioner, says that if the government can provide free condoms in every public institution, then it most certainly can accommodate the provision of sanitary towels to school going children.

To make his case, Nyachiro argues that as a result of lack of sanitary towels, more than 60% of girls in impoverished homes and areas in Kenya miss schooling during their menses.

This, in addition to suffering from a shameful culture subjected to menstrual health and hygiene.

The provision of sanitary towels to school girls is essential to upholding their inherent right to human dignity respected and protected. A declaration does issue that the State’s providence of male condoms is sufficient evidence to show that resources are available and that the State has no defense under Article 20 of the 2010 constitution,” reads the court papers.

Justice Makau has directed that Nyachiro’s application be served to the respondents and that the respondents do file and serve their responses to the application before the next mention date in June 2, 2021.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had in 2017 signed the Bill into law, which also compels the government to provide a safe and environmentally sound mechanism for disposal of the sanitary towels.

However, this provision still remains a challenge for most school going girls.

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