The minister of education, science and technology sports in charge of primary health care has been urged to put aside a fund to help young girls in primary schools to get the basic requirements during their menstrual cycle.
The call was sounded by Caroline Bonabana, the principal legal officer in the Office of the Auditor General (AG) who also doubles as the chairperson women’s forum in the same office.
Bonabana reported that during their various audits, the AG’s office established there is a high drop out of the girl child in Uganda especially in primary schools and attributed this to the challenges a girl child faces concerning menstrual hygiene.
“The biggest percentage of these girls does not have the facilities and some are less educated about it. They need immediate help because the four days they are out of school has an impact to their education” Bonabana said.
She raised the concern while handing over sanitary pads to pupils in three primary schools; Guma Memorial Primary school in Isingiro district, Kayanja and Rushozi primary schools in Buhweju district. The pads were a donation from the AG’s office.
William Ezama, the Principle Auditor in charge of the Mbarara office who represented the AG, said they have distributed pads worth over shs10m to schools in northern, eastern, central and now western regions.
He said the money used to buy the pads was contributed by Auditor General’s staff through their kind-hearted decision initiated by the women’s forum. The program targets UPE schools that are not yet well versed to help girls in poor developed areas.
He challenged other organizations to come up and support activities that would help keep a girl in school.
“We got concerned when we established the challenges a girl child goes through in coping with her biological growth and school environment. In the effort to counter these challenges, the office of the Auditor General has taken an initiative to support menstrual hygiene through distribution of sanitary pads to the selected schools,” Ezama added.
He noted that the improvement in the health of the girl child is a guarantee to creation of leaders for our nation. He thanked schools for accepting to host them but challenged children to read hard for the better of their future.
Maureen Nahwera, a primary five pupil at Kayanja Primary School wants government to support their parents to get out of poverty arguing that many of their parents are very poor and cannot afford buying requirements.
Bamu Karuhanga, Buhweju district inspector of schools, reported that the girl child dropout rate in the district stands at 40%.