Not all sanitary protection is created equal.
- Reusable cloth pads can be harmful because of the lack of clean water and privacy to dry. When pads are hidden out of sight in dark areas without the bacteria-killing UV from the sun, the potential for bacterial growth significantly increases and can be dangerous to a woman’s health. This issue poses health concerns including pelvic and urinary tract infections, reproductive tract diseases, and cervical cancer.
VIDEO from the standpoint of a young Maasai girl who understands fully the issues around washable cloth pads.Watch a
- Menstrual cups are appealing because of their reusable nature and the length of time they can be worn. With no running water, they are hard to manage. Without access to fuel needed to boil water and sanitize the cups, they may lead to serious health issues. For girls in school, sanitizing is not an option. Furthermore, in some cultures, using a menstrual cup would stigmatize a girl as being unfit for marriage.
- Tampons are not an option for virgins in countries with societal or religious beliefs that may render girls unfit for marriage. Extended use of a tampon may also leads to toxic shock syndrome.
- Imported sanitary products are expensive and made with a non-biodegradable plastic, making disposal difficult and increasing trash and sanitation issues where burning is the only option.