Staff Reporter :: Speakers at a programme yesterday urged the government to allocate special funds for ensuring and maintaining toilets with menstruation hygiene management (MHM), as part of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) services at schools.
They also recommended ensuring availability of low-priced sanitary pads for girls at the school toilets.
The speakers made the recommendations during a roundtable on “Budget allocation addressing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at school level” at the premises of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in the capital.
The programme was jointly organised by Development Organisation of the Rural Poor (DORP) and Menstrual Health Management Platform.
According to a baseline survey conducted on school girls in Netrakona under “Ritu Programme” last year in February, most of them complained of their school toilets lacking MHM services including running water, soaps and trash bins.
Addressing the programme, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan said the sanitation projects being undertaken by development organisations in rural areas should make sure that the facilities are user-friendly and built according to the needs of the locals.
Responding on the recommendation about making low-priced sanitary pads available at schools, the minister said an expert discussion is necessary to find out ways to reduce the price of sanitary pads.
Nurjahan Begum Mukta, MP, said WASH services should accommodate special requirements in particular areas and steps need to be taken in rural areas, especially in hill districts, where locals, mostly women, have to carry heavy loads of fresh water containers from distant sources.
Tasmima Hossain, editor of Bangla daily Ittefaq, said programmes on MHM awareness need to be undertaken among girls and women at upazila levels.
Azhar Ali Talukder, chairman of DORP, also spoke at the event.