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Women need period-friendly toilets urgently

“Disposal pads are the most commonly used material among career women in Uganda,” this is according to the findings of a situational analysis study in 2020 on menstrual health management in Uganda. Among the study findings are the fact that when menstruating:

  • 52% of women in Uganda use disposable pads
  • 32% of women in Uganda use pieces of cloth
  • 6% of women in Uganda use reusable pads
  • 5% of women in Uganda use cotton wool
  • 3% of women in Uganda use toilet paper
  • 2% of women in Uganda use other materials

It is likely that the majority of Ugandan women who use re-usable pads are urban dwellers. Unfortunately, the necessary infrastructure for menstrual health and hygiene management in Uganda’s urban settings is appallingly insufficient. Most especially so in the provision of period-friendly toilets and used pads disposal.

“The public toilets that we have are not enough. In the markets, the toilets have water, but when you go there you don’t have the provision of where people are supposed to put their used pads.

Similar with hotels – some have provisions but some of them also don’t have collection baskets for used pads. It means you have to go with your used pads in your own pocket.”

Respondent 1, a duty bearer in charge of health and hygiene

The status quo described by Respondent 1 isn’t at all unique to the lower working class masses who work in farmers’ markets for example. It is shocking closely the same for the upper middle class population as well.

“Even here at work there isn’t a bin in our toilets for you to drop in your used pad. The few public places where you find it, it is not the suitable one to use to drop in your used pad. I did my own personal research.

I went to some public offices, I went to markets, schools and this is what I have found out. Menstrual hygiene is not prioritized at all. No body is thinking about menstrual hygiene.”

Respondent 2, a duty bearer in charge of health and hygiene

It is against this background that we, at CPAR Uganda, would like to intervene to raise conscious awareness about the plight of the menstruating work force. In the hope that we can influence development of the right policies and implementation strategies. And that action shall be taken to make provision for period-friendly toilets in all public places in Uganda.

As a duty bearer suggested “let us go modern, but as we modernise let us get measures suitable to dispose off used pads easily and in a healthy way.” We need your support to do this. Click here, learn more about our intervention and support us by amplifying our voice – share this post to others in your next work.

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