DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzanian health authorities said on Friday plans were underway to instal sanitary pads vending machines in all public schools to allow girl students to have uninterrupted education, reported Xinhua.

The Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu said girls in public schools lost between 30 and 40 days of study annually for lack of access to sanitary pads.

“The vending machines will enable girl students to access the sanitary pads whenever they needed them at 200 Tanzanian shillings,“ said Mwalimu when she launched the sanitary pads vending machine at Bunge secondary school in the capital Dodoma ahead of the Menstrual Hygiene Day that takes place on May 28 every year.

Mwalimu commended Lulu Ameir, founder and chief executive officer of Bela Vendor, for innovating the sanitary pads vending machines, saying the machines will provide huge relief to girls in schools.

“Safe menstruation for girls in schools is very important for their academic growth,“ she said, pledging that the government will take necessary steps to ensure that girl students were not interrupted for missing sanitary pads.

Lulu said surveys showed that the lack of access to sanitary pads by girls in schools contributed to their poor performance in their studies.

Menstrual Hygiene Day, an annual event at a global level, highlights the importance of menstrual care and raises awareness about the issues faced by those who do not have access to sanitary products. It was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2013 and observed for the first time in 2014.

The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023 is “Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030”. -Bernama