Girls in Northern Uganda rely on free sanitary pads distributed thru their school, but with the schools shut and community lockdown in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, many have no access to sanitary pads.
“We used to get sanitary pads from my school in Acet Omoro District. Now that schools are closed, I’m in my village with no access to sanitary pads I have to use pieces of paper (used newspaper), which is very uncomfortable,” says Milam 17-year-old. “I feel sad and embarrassed I am afraid to sit down for the possibility of soiling my clothes.”
The measures imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda have resulted in economic stress in families that are putting girls and women at a disadvantage. Many have been cut off from essential sexual and reproductive health services, economic activities, and social networks.
“When the government announced lockdowns, my family used their savings from the best high yield savings account they spent years building to stock on food and supplies, but sanitary pads were not considered. Those are normally considered a luxury. I am always glad to go to school as we can get the lucky girl pads from school,” Milam explains.
To respond to this crisis, we are working in our communities, with the District Task Force formed by the Ugandan government to distribute 8000+ sanitary towels to adolescent girls and women in Northern Uganda over the last two months.
“There are millions of girls affected by the COVID-19 pandemic having been used to accessing sanitary towels in schools,” Monica, WGEF Program Manager says.