The Bloemfontein-based Gracious Nubian Designs, owned by Euodia Naanyane-Bouwer, had the privilege to exhibit and introduce its washable sanitary pads to the international market at the Africa Health Exhibition, which started Johannesburg on Tuesday and ends today.
Every year on 28 May menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is highlighted the world over. This idea, which was initiated in 2014 by the German-based NGO, WASH United, aims to benefit women and girls worldwide. The day acknowledges the fact that an average menstrual cycle is 28 days long.
According to Naanyane-Bouwer, in low-income countries, such as South Africa, many women and young girl’s choices of menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by the costs, availability and social norms.
She explained that adequate sanitation facilities and access to feminine hygiene products are however only one part of the solution. Creating a culture that welcomes discussion and offers adequate education to women and girls is of equal importance. She says that research has found that not having access to MHM products can keep girls from school each time they are on their period.
“I have been fighting and advocating for girls since 2015 and recently been focusing on ensuring that menstrual products, such as reusable sanitary pads, are safe to be used and of a good standard.
“Girls also need to be menstrual hygiene wise, so that when these sanitary products are distributed they are well MHM clued up with what to do,” said Naanyane-Bouwer.
She ended off by warning women to steer clear of products where the materials used are undisclosed, especially if it is a disposable product. She says women need to make sure that it has gone through a bio-compatibility test if it is a reusable product. – Sazly Hartzenberg