A Zimbabwean member of parliament who has been lobbying the government to provide free sanitary pads to girls and women has revealed that many young girls take contraceptives to stop their menstrual cycles.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said at a women’s forum last week that the high cost of sanitary pads is to blame for the problem.
“There is an issue that is of concern to us; I came across young girls who said they are using contraceptives so that they do not experience their menstrual cycle because it is expensive to buy sanitary wear,” she is quoted by local media New Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean government is implementing the issuance of contraceptives to women for free at hospitals. The MP, however, has called for an investigation into the issuance of contraceptives to underaged girls suspected of indulging in sexual practices.
“There is no clarity on at what point should we issue contraceptives to young girls. I think if a child is already sexually active it is ridiculous not to give them contraceptives. If someone knows they are having sex the best way is to give them contraceptives,” she added.
The high cost of sanitary pads has interrupted the education of many girls in Africa. A few countries in Africa including South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Kenya have put in place laws and policies to ensure that this is a thing of the past. They have started issuing free sanitary pads to girls which Zimbabwe is yet to do.