The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is planning to standardise the manufacture of reusable sanitary towels, and wants the public's input.
The move for standardisation will ensure quality products are made available for indigent households, said Roshelle Pillay, spokesperson for SABS.
"The products are essential for indigent and under-served communities and contributes toward a better quality of life for girls and women. The specifications within the standard takes into account South African conditions and will result in quality, fit-for-purpose products that can be tested against a set of specifications," said Pillay.
The draft document looks to develop a new standard for reusable sanitary towels made of mainly cotton, which can be washed, sun-dried and reused. The standard is set on minimum requirements and will be open for public comment until September 25. The standard is expected to be finalised by March 2020.
According to Health24, the dangers of using inappropriate and unsterile materials for menstruation can result in health complications such as infections.
The technical committee which has developed the draft includes 22 industry experts and interested parties, with several national departments represented, explained Pillay.
"In addition to reusable sanitary towels being an environmentally sustainable product, providing dignity to millions of girls and women, [the standard] is also expected to encourage the local manufacturing industry. Compliance to the standard will enable manufacturers to create products for local markets and for the region. Compliance to the product specifications can be measured through independent testing of the products and certification," said Pillay.
Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, has called on the public to make submissions on the draft standard.
"The introduction of such standards could be a game-changer for the sanitary industry in South Africa because the consequences of inadequate menstrual management extends beyond the classroom to health, dignity, psycho-social wellbeing, employment, and participation in society. Focusing on a holistic approach to menstrual hygiene management will go a long way to providing an interventional edge in this field," said Fernandez.
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