With the world in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic it’s difficult to know specifically how it is affecting girls and women in Kenya. What we can presume is, it will not be making their menstruation experience any easier.
The Impact of the Virus on Girls
We do know that all the schools have closed and so any help or support from schools will have probably stopped. Some schools have disposable pads that are given in emergencies and some (although not all) have toilets and wash hand basins, which families do not always have at home. This is a problem in normal times as girls can’t always stay clean but it’s a particular issue given the current virus situation and the need to keep cleaning hands.
As jobs are lost and travel is restricted, family finances will be even more dire than usual and so the purchase of sanitary pads will not be a priority. Our concern is that girls will use old paper, leaves or rags, leaving them prone to infections. Also, it may be easier at this time for older boys and men to encourage girls to have sex in exchange for money to buy pads, thus increasing the incidence of sexual abuse and early pregnancy. We know this happens already but girls will be even more vulnerable now.
Without specific data and information, we can only reasonably assume that the pandemic will be highlighting and worsening an already very difficult situation with regards to menstruation and the lack of products.