Kampala — The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has asked the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to provide sanitary towels for women in refugee camps.
The Speaker was on Monday officiating at the launch of new standards for re-useable sanitary pads at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
Ms Kadaga said it is displeasing if women in camps cannot be catered for, spirally in regard to menstrual hygiene.
There have been rising concerns by women in refugee camps, often complaining against the lack of access to pads.
The market price of sanitary towels ranges between Shs2,500 and Shs10,000, which is perceived to be high.
Ms Kadaga said Parliament is pushing for tax incentives for local manufacturers of re-usable pads, to enable them cover the entire country.
"I think this is now an opportunity not only for import substitution but also to generate employment. Also, if we are sourcing products from the local market, then it means we shall be putting money into the communities and there is a benefit," Ms Kadaga said.
The Speaker said re-usable sanitary pads and their pioneer project, AFRIpads, should be embraced by all stakeholders.
Ms Kadaga also raised concern over what she called "some social establishments" which she said were still suffering from attitudinal challenges of menstrual hygiene.
She cited Karamoja, where girls would be asked to dig holes and sit there for at least four days before they would be accepted back in the communities.
This, she said, has left many female students mainly in primary and lower secondary classes, drop out of school.
"Many people do not know the rate of attrition in our education institutions because of absence of facilities for sanitation," she said.
Uganda has an estimated 12 million women and girls in menstruation age, according to Ms Sophia Grinvalds, the Director of AFRIpads Ltd.
Ms Kadaga said the new standards by the Uganda national Bureau of Standards will act as a model for other governments in the East African Region and will soon be adopted by the East African Community.