'Reduce price of sanitary towels'

HARARE - Retailers are refusing to slash the prices of sanitary wear in the wake of a 15 percent cut in import duty.

Renias Mundingi, Southern Africa Aids Dissemination Service (SafAids) senior programmes officer, said the lack of follow up on the pricing regime was hindering the fulfilment of the right to sexual and reproductive health for young girls in Zimbabwe.

“After lobbying, the ministry of Finance scrapped 15 percent import duty but now retailers are refusing to lower prices,” Mundingi said “If we approach government, they say we played our part.

“There is need for a lot of enforcement from organisations like Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ).

“A dollar maybe cheap for some but it is a lot of money for many young women,” he said during a media briefing to highlight the successes of the Young 4 Real Programme.

Mundingi said the options for young women were limited amid rampant poverty and unemployment in the country.

“It is real that most young women are using rags while some are resorting to leaves (during their menstrual cycle),” he said.

Recent surveys by the Integrated Sustainable Livelihoods have shown that thousands of young girls miss up to 24 weeks of school because of their inability to control their menstrual flow due to lack of access to affordable and healthy sanitary wear.

Gender activists have been pleading with government to scrap taxation on sanitary products to make it more affordable to under-privileged young women.

Prices of sanitary pads on the local market range between a $1 and $3 for a pack.

On average, every monthly cycle requires two packs.

No comment could be from Health minister David Parirenyatwa, whose mobile went unanswered.

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