By Conrad Mupesa
At least 21 400 schoolgirls from Mashonaland West province have so far received sanitary wear and soap tablets from the Government through the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry.
Government has also availed over $15,8 million to the province towards the procurement and distribution of the second batch of sanitary wear.
Over 58 900 primary school students and 53 000 secondary learners require sanitary wear in the province.
Provincial education director, Mr Gabriel Mhumha said other procurements would be done once funds were availed.
“As Mashonaland West province, we purchased and distributed our first batch of sanitary wear to both primary and secondary rural schools as well as laundry soap to secondary learners.
“Each district received 1 860 packs of disposable pads distributed to 1 860 learners each receiving one pack of 10 units pads,” said Mr Mhumha.
For the rural secondary schools, Mr Mhumha said procurement of 13 020 reusable pads has been made benefiting 8 442 learners.
The girls received five reusable pads each and a tablet of washing soap.
In the 2020 programme-based budget, the ministry has been allocated funding for the provision of sanitary wear to the most vulnerable female pupils at primary and secondary school levels.
Beneficiaries include girls who have reached puberty, from Grade 4 to Grade 7, and all female pupils from Form 1 to 6 in all the rural secondary schools.
“We have menstrual health management committees from school level, cluster level, district and provincial level. Committee membership is gender-balanced.
“This takes a leaf from the national health management committee, comprising all head office departments and chaired by the Learner Welfare Psychological Services.
“The Special Needs Education Department coordinates the planning and reporting of this social protection initiative while the Primary, Secondary and Non-formal Education Department supervises and monitors its implementation,” he added.
Teachers-in-charge, senior teachers, SDC representatives, junior local Parliamentarians, secondary school female and male pupils and school health coordinators among other representatives, are some of the committee members.
Around $600 million has so far been released by Government for the availability of sanitary wear to schools following the successful adoption of the Education Act (Chapter 25:04) which came into force on 6 March 2020 which approves and mandates Government to avail sanitary wear to schoolgirl children.