76% of women in Malawi lack access to underwear, says NGO


A non-governmental (NGO) called Days for Girls International says 76% of girls and women in Malawi lack access to underwear and sanitary pads.

The organisation’s Country Director Eunice Banda revealed this on Tuesday in Lilongwe during an event held ahead of the menstrual hygiene day on 28 May, 2022.

In her speech, Banda noted that menstrual hygiene in Malawi is still a problem and a big challenge to young girls and women. She added that problem needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

“Young girls and women have experienced negative health challenges, harmful cultural practices and shaming because they have no access to resources to manage their periods properly,” she said.

She further said that most of the challenges have caused a number of problems as young girls fail to go to school during the times that they are menstruating.

Lutiya Dawe who is the Mother Group chairperson for Msauka primary school in Lilongwe said only four girls had underwear at the school before the non-state actor introduced a project in 2021.

The revelation came as a shock because that is such a small number for young girls to have access to a basic need.

Dawe said the lack of access to underwear caused a lot of stigma and embarrassment for the young girls in school which affected them negatively.

On his part, Paul Chikagunda who is the secretary for Pastors Fraternity in Lilongwe, said the church can play a huge role by breaking the silence in menstrual hygiene by civic educating its members on the importance of menstrual hygiene of women and young girls.

Menstrual hygiene management is a major concern in Malawi for young girls and women. It is an issue that needs to be taken care of immediately.

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