Pandemic pushes poor girls to use rags during period - Infotrak report

More than half of the women interviewed in Mombasa said they used home produced soap.

In Summary

• The research firm survey on the unending water crisis in Kenya amid Covid-19 pandemic indicates that at least 39 per cent of women under survey, decided to use home made soap due to lack of hygiene products.

• More than half of the women interviewed in Mombasa said they used home produced soap during the period under review.

Mt Kenya Salvation Army Primary School pupils with sanitary towels provided by the Nyeri government. Image: FILE
Mt Kenya Salvation Army Primary School pupils with sanitary towels provided by the Nyeri government. Image: FILE

Many women and girls in vulnerable communities in Kenya have resorted to using rags instead of sanitary towels due to the economic effects of the pandemic.

A poll by Infotrak released on Wednesday suggests that of the more than a quarter of the women and girls surveyed, 36 per cent, have taken to use of rags instead of sanitary pads for their period.

The survey on the unending water crisis in Kenya amid the Covid-19 pandemic indicates that at least 39 per cent of women under survey decided to use home made soap due to lack of hygiene products.

 

More than half of the women interviewed in Mombasa said they used home produced soap during the period under review.

The poll of 800 adults was conducted between September- October through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) in four of 47 counties. The margin of error was +/-3.464 per cent with a 95 per cent degree of confidence. It was funded by the Kenya Water and Civil Society Network.

The survey was carried out in the counties that have been mostly hit by the virus, including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale.

Many poor girls across the country use old blankets, tissue paper, mattresses and cotton wool during their periods for lack of sanitary towels. 

The government by law is mandated to provide free sanitary towels to girls in public, primary and special needs schools through the Education ministry. 

Last October, however, the government said it lacked funds to provide pads.

Education CS George Magoha said the Sh470 million provided for the free sanitary towels is only enough to purchase supplies for four months.  

 

From the Infotrak survey, at least 15 per cent of women have been forced to reduce hand washing and cleaning due to inadequate resources. 

Hand washing is one of the five major Covid-19 preventative measures directed by the ministry of health.  

It was first embraced by many Kenyans when the directive was imposed. However, once people got a pinch of the economical strain from the pandemic, many have toned down on cleaning.