'Rigorous research is needed to address lack of access to sanitary products'

The claim that 7 million girls in South Africa are missing school every month because they don't have access to or money for sanitary products was adopted as fact after an NGO providing reusable sanitary towels and menstruation education made the pronouncement.

Kate Wilkinson joined Azania to unpack the claim, in light of menstrual Hygiene Day (also known as MHD, MH Day, or Menstrual Health Day).

We went back to one of the NGOs who had started to use this stat and they said we got the information from the 2011 census and what that showed was that there were nine million girls aged 11 to 19 in SA and of those seven million were in the lower living standards measure and that is how we estimated....

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

We went to the census and we found a problem with the numbers. When we spoke to stats SA they actually found that there were 4.8 million girls in that age group.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

Unfortunately there have not been any surveys conducted in South Africa which look specifically at this issue. We went to the 2016 general household survey....

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

It is about 2.6 million girls aged nine to twenty who are enrolled in South African schools and attending no fees schools that are possibly in a situation where they would either miss school, classes or hours in the day because they don't have money to buy basic products to allow them to attend school during their period.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

Wilkinson says more research needs to be done to adequately address the problem and provide interventions which are evidence based.

We have a number of challenges when it comes to education and it can be hard enough for any child to stay in school and do well. How many girls are affected so that we can adequately address the problem and provide interventions supported by rigorous research.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

Click on the link below to hear of Africa Check conducted it's research on the matter....


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