ZIMBABWEAN women mostly from the resort town of Kariba have turned to Zambia for sanitaryware, as the cash squeeze hitting the country continues unabated.
BY NUNURAI JENA
Kariba residents told NewsDay that cotton and sanitary pads are cheaper in Zambia than in Zimbabwe due to the strengthening of the United States dollar against other currencies in the region.
Dorcas Chirenje said she uses sanitary pads from Zambia because they were cheaper compared to local ones.
“These products are cheap across the bridge, we have no choice other than to go and buy it in Siavonga (Zambian border town),” Chirenje said.
A small packet of sanitary pads is $1 in Zimbabwe, but costs 30 kwacha in Zambia, the equivalence of $0,30.
Young girls, including schoolchildren, were the hardest hit as they resorted to using unhygienic materials, including cow-dung during their menstrual cycle that health experts say could expose them to cancer.
Cases of school children either dropping out of school or missing lessons during their period were growing, as families prioritised the little money they have to meet basic needs than provide for sanitaryware.
Business people in Kariba were also cashing in smuggling groceries and sanitary pads into the country for resale at a huge profit.
Cross Border Association chairperson, Augustine Tawanda confirmed that cotton and sanitary pads were among the goods sort-after by Zimbabwe women, together with mealie-meal, drinks, lotions and sweets.
“Sanitary pads and cotton wool are among the goods that are coming into the country from Zambia together with drinks, mealie-meal, lotions and sweets probably for resell here. In a day you find large consignments coming into the country,” Tawanda said.
At least four million Zimbabweans face starvation and now depend on donor support.
While the rains pounding most parts of the country could be a sign of a better harvest after years of drought, floods have hit some parts of the country spelling doom again.