Improving women’s menstrual health

photo: supplied KPP staff with their sanitary pads that they received.
photo: supplied KPP staff with their sanitary pads that they received.

THE KwaZulu Pecan Processors (KPP) launched their Female Dignity Programme at an event which took place on February 14.

The primary focus was on improving female menstrual health, paying particular attention to washing one’s hands during a menstrual cycle, the hygienic disposal of soiled sanitary pads and not flushing them down the toilets, and lastly the regular change of sanitary pads preferably once every eight hours.

May 28 is celebrated globally as World Menstrual Day.

KPP said in a statement: “Sanitary pads, in its current high plastic content, take up to 10 years to disintegrate into the ground, thereby causing a major problem at our dump sites. Further given the ageing municipal infrastructure, flushing sanitary pads down toilets is causing untold blockages requiring interventions.

“From an environment perspective there is a bio-degradable sanitary pad that is available, but the cost is much higher than the current Stayfree options. Female dignity is all about restoring confidence, it is estimated that females in schools, especially our rural communities, stay away for up to 50-60 days when they are menstruating.

“With the Greytown community the figures show growing levels of unemployment and most households are managed by [women] and lastly a great dependancy on social welfare for survival.

“That said, sanitary pads are considered a luxury purchase, hence at most times it does not form part of the shopping list.”

The aim of the pilot programme at KPP, which is part of the Pidelta Group of companies, is to better understand the in-home challenges and to consolidate the findings to develop further.

Female sanitary is all about teaching young women that this should not be taboo.

“The United Nations has made sanitary dignity a key driver and focal point. A point further highlighted when our finance minister for the first time in 2019 made a budget available for deserving [pupils] to receive free sanitary pads, but only in selected areas due to budget constraints.

“So this programme is needed in SA. However the solution is for companies like Zonke for Female Wellness to step in, educate, advise and provide the products as best as their financial means allow.

“The future roll out to the greater Greytown will be determined by my information gathering and learnings from KPP and the Pidelta group and also from the responses we receive from your publication from interested parties like schools where we can partner,” said the organisation.

In South Africa it is estimated that approximately 10 million women are not performing the required standards for proper menstrual management.

Financial obstacles, lack of education, shame and ignorance are some of the challenges.

The programme is intended to not only educate the staff at KPP, but also to transfer information to friends, family and communities about this not often spoken about topic - menstrual management.

KPP together with the support of Zonke for Female Wellness will for the next three months be providing all staff members with a monthly allocation of 20 units of Stayfree sanitary pads together with information booklets all towards improving employee wellness.

The pilot programme will be assessed after three to determine its effectiveness and its future continuation.

The call to action is to follow the example set by KPP in making a positive contribution towards the women within the Greytown community.

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