Partners urge government to waive taxes on sanitary pads

The transitional unity government has been asked to waive taxes on sanitary pads to ensure girls don’t drop out of school.
Participants as seen at Pyramid Hotel during the celebration of the international menstrual Health Management Day 

By Simon Deng

The transitional unity government has been asked to waive taxes on sanitary pads to ensure girls don’t drop out of school.

This was revealed on Tuesday in Juba, during celebration to mark International Day for Menstrual Health Management by Dara Johnson the head of Climate Resilience, Water Sanitation and Hygiene for the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

 “Menstrual period products must be affordable, this is a right, and we join with all of the partners in calling for the government to make essential period products tax free,” Johnson said.

About 2.8 million children, of which majority are girls are estimated to have dropped out of school due to conflict, forced child marriages and other reasons.

“We have a long way to go in South Sudan, facilities have to be available in schools and sanitary pads have to be available and affordable, and taboos associated with menstruation must be broken,” Johnson said.

He said menstrual hygiene management is an important part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals including health, education, WASH, and environment.

Johnson noted the need for the private sector to meet demand for menstrual management.

“Menstrual hygiene products are needed every month by every woman, to have a period friendly South Sudan. Producing sufficient products is not a small endeavor and it requires industrious skills,” he said.

Samuel Dem, the Director General for Alternative Education System at the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, said they remain committed to promote menstrual hygiene management in schools.

“We are implementing   a component based curriculum and gender equity is being incorporated in the curriculum, the ministry together with partners like Girl Education in South Sudan (GESS) support girls and young mothers by providing cash transfer which is used to buy sanitary pads and other materials,” Dem said.

Ademola Olajide, the Country Representative for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said menstrual hygiene management plays a critical part in population growth, adding that 3.2 million women and girls menstruate on monthly basis in South Sudan.

“The ability of the nation to perpetuate its population to grow is tied to the ability of women and girls to menstruate with dignity, menstruation is integral part of reproductive health and hygiene management is very critical for all of us,” he said.

“When it becomes difficult for women and girls to undertake this function with dignity, it begins to affect their health, social well-being, productivity and continue to challenge the capacity of the country itself to achieve the development objective that it seeks,” Olajide added.

The International Menstrual Health Management Day was attended by the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and partners including UNFPA, UNICEF, AfriYAN and Save the Children.

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