Kenya in recent years has had a lot of gains in matters menstrual hygiene management ,including the decision to exempt sanitary towels from VAT in 2004 in a bid to make pads more accessible to women and girls in the country. In 2016, we celebrated the Education Act Bill, being passed into law that mandated the government to supply 4 million school going girls with sanitary towels. We did not stop there as in 2020, Kenya Launched its first ever national stand alone Menstural Health Management (MHM) policy.
We together with other stakeholders complement the governments endeavour to provide free sanitary towels to all Kenyan school going girls by holding pad drives, and other programs that channel donations to support the girls. However these great strides we have made as a country are being threatened by the witnessed increased cost of sanitary towels.
However the current inflation has resulted in a rise of most commodities such as food i.e unga, rice and oil but has also touched on the cost of sanitary towels which has doubled, whereby a pack of Ksh 50 now is sold for Ksh 100 greatly impeding our concerted efforts to end period poverty and abseentism due to period poverty. For instance, it would be difficult for a shopper at the supermarket to donate 2 packets of pads (Ksh 200) now as opposed to previous times where the same packets would cost Ksh 100.
Our call to action to the president H.E William Samoei Ruto is to offer relevant subsidies to pad manufacturers in Kenya to allow the cost of sanitary towels to revert to the initial 50 bob!