Spare a thought for the poor girl

PRICES are going up to the extent that even those who are expected to afford them in urban settings are now feeling the pinch and the situation is even worse in rural areas were cash is even scarcer.

When prices of basic commodities shoot up, rarely do people think about the downtrodden girl-child who, as nature demands, must have sanitary wear on a monthly basis but because of the prevailing economic hardships go without, drop out of school and at times is forced into early marriage.

In remote rural settings, some girls use cow-dung or pieces of cloth, which are dangerous as they come with diseases and are also predictably uncomfortable to use.

In such a situation, it is little surprising that the odds will be staked against the girl-child.

It is trite that sanitary pads are a crucial component for any woman and girl’s reproductive requirements but the spike in prices have placed them beyond the reach of many, consequently affecting the performance of the girl-child at school, home and even her reproductive health.

According to research, providing a girl with underwear and sanitary pads may increase her chances of staying in school by more than 30 percent, and given that girls often drop out of school because of a multiplicity of reasons, our government should be responsive and provide safety nets for the disadvantaged to plug the holes caused by a lack of sanitary pads.

Surely, how can a girl go to school without sanitary pads, this is all too evident if one looks at the sharp decrease of girls going to school between those at primary and secondary school, while even the performance of the girl child drops.

Experts content that school attendance drops for girls at secondary school level because of such shortages.

Government — broke as it professes — must provide sanitary pads to girls and women, not only in rural areas but across the country because poverty levels are rising and parents, especially fathers, put little regard in such critical necessities.

Just as male condoms are distributed in toilets, government should also place sanitary pads in such places for the convenience of the poor girl-child who is in danger of dropping out of school because of a lack of such critical elements.

Efforts to eradicate poverty, reduce HIV and guard against teenage pregnancies will otherwise all be in vain because the root causes are not being addressed.


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