Young girls in Namibia continue to miss school due to a lack of proper sanitation and consistent access to menstrual hygiene products, said Ester Anna Nghipondoka, Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture in Namibia.
Nghipondoka made the remarks on Wednesday during the handover ceremony of 10,800 packets of sanitary pads by local Atlantic Catering Solutions’ Community Trust.
Some learners resort to using harmful materials, which is detrimental to their health and embarrassment, Nghipondoka said.
“This embarrassment and feeling of insecurity could be one of the reasons why many of our girls end up dropping out of school,” said the official.
Figures by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization show that one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their period.
In Namibia, the Ministry observed cases of absenteeism, which is attributed to a lack of sanitary pads and inadequate sanitation facilities, said Nghipondoka.
A baseline survey carried out by the Society for Family Health in 404 schools established that over one-quarter of girls have to use same-sex toilets.
The survey further revealed that nearly two thirds of the girls’ toilets are not lockable, over half of the schools make no provision for girls concerning menstruation such as bins to dispose of pads, handwashing facilities and soap.
Anne Shilengudwa, Trustee of the Community Trust, said that the donation would benefit more than 3000 high school girls in the Omaheke region.
The donation coincides with the observance of the annual Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, aimed at creating a world in which every woman and girl can hygienically manage her menstruation, in privacy and with dignity. (Xinhua)