Women Pads and Hygiene Enigma

Women Pads and Hygiene Enigma

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“Thanks my dear friends for visiting”, Wakio said, “These days it’s not easy to gather like this, I am honored guys”. 

Her friends Mshai and Tole have visited, they are close friends, they have been together since nursery school at Mwakshimba primary school, Werugha.

“Never mind friend, we are privileged too, but I am not okay, I am in terrible pain”, Mshai resonated. 

Tole looked at her with shocked eyes, “You are all happy my dear, how on earth can you be in pain?” 

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“Women issues my dear, you will never understand”, she replied. 

Wakio gave a gleam of laughter, but her face showed concern, she really wanted to know what was bothering her best and long time friend. She could not hold her curiosity and asked, “Is it something we can discuss here?” 

“Yes, of course, Tole is our good friend, actually a husband, he must be knowing everything about women by now, it’s just these days when  I use sanitary towels, I form blisters, experience serious itching and burns,” 

“Ohhh my, really”, He got concerned and felt sorry for her, “I have heard horror stories about experiences with pads for a long time now and they are heartbreaking. Anyway, you guys should go old style, what were women using in ancient times?”

“Like seriously,” Wakio chipped in, “do you think at this century we can adopt what women were using in the stone age? Just imagine a girls high school with 3000 students, all using rags as pads. That means every month they would be hanging their rags on the clothesline, the mixing may lead to an outbreak. Imagine a picture of many rags for your daughters and wife hanging in your bathroom or outside your house.”

“Wow, that would be a problem, it’s better to stick to disposable sanitary towels” He exclaimed.

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Mshai smiled and said, “Yeah, but the challenge we are facing today is that the producers are giving us products that are affecting us, defective products. Many of us are in pain, we are experiencing double pain, pain from the cycle, and from the products. In fact, apart from the rushes and burns, I hear it can make us not conceive, though I am not sure if it’s scientifically proven.”

“Am convinced this is a big problem we are facing,” Wakio gathered herself, ready to give her stipulations about the subject, “and it’s unfortunate that women are scared to talk about it because they think they’re the only ones suffering, mothers, daughters are all in confusion about this, I wonder what women with heavy flows would say about this, it must be chaotic and horrific.”

Mshai chipped, “We also need men in support of women, they should play part in solving women’s problems because our problems are their problems too, or don’t you guys need clean, fresh, healthy and fertile women?” 

With a smile on his face, “You just claimed before that these are women issues, we men should not involve ourselves but anyway I agree with what you have just said. These issues should not be taboo in a society where our wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters, and female relatives are all affected. People should discuss them and come up with amicable solutions.”

Currently, there have been cases of defective products in circulation that affect the sexual and reproductive health of our girls and women. Do you think these defective sanitary towels are being dumped on purpose to the market? Do you think in other markets they get quality products compared to what our women get? These are some of the questions to be answered candidly and prevent our women’s sexual and reproductive health from being deliberately sabotaged.

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Wakio said, “Imagine a girl starts menstruating at the age of 8, which means they will go through this horrible experience every 2-5 days every month for at least 35 years when menopause sets in. This is the reason why the involved institutions have to be held responsible to protect the consumers and stop collecting bribes and being incompetent. The girl child and women have to be protected for our society to have a great generation.” 

“I tell you my dear, this sanitary towels issue is a nightmare, the products are a nightmare. I never shared this with anyone because, well, for fear that someone may spread a rumor and face stigmatization as she sleeps around with everyone that’s why she is rotten. I develop a rash every month from using it and to tell the truth I thought I was allergic to the product. It’s very shameful to walk around with wounds on your private parts, especially on a sunny day, you smell like a dead rotten rat. You even get disgusted with yourself and get scared about your well being, your self-esteem dies and you feel that everyone knows you have some problem.”

“I have popped pills to clear infections during these times too, the cramping, back pain, and the infections always are a disaster. They even temper with my emotions, and am always weird and crazy these times. I think I owe some people an explanation for my weird tendencies around my flow and after. Tole! Imagine wearing wet sandpaper between your legs for 2-5 days depending on your cycle every month?”, Wakio gazed at Tole asserting her point.

With his eyes wide open, he said, “You mean these things are wet? I thought they are made of dry cotton which sips the flow and stops it from flowing down your thighs to shame you.”

“Yeah, the flow even makes it more wet, then imagine this sandpaper is covered in perforated plastic and you are sitting on it, sleeping in it bearing in mind what temperature does to plastic. Every gush of your menses provides the perfect conditions for your body heat to cook this plastic-covered sandpaper leaving you with bruises from the rubbing and burns, not to mention the countless number of times I have to deal with urinary tract infections.”

Still, in amusement, he stated, “I will repeat myself again, you need pads that are made of cotton and not some unexplained powder I hear about. What if this powder is contagious, has some content that leads to vaginal depletion and cervical cancer. I can’t imagine a situation where all our women have ugly vaginas. Do women from other regions complain of the same or do you think the products sold to you are somehow tampered with?”

“The only comments we get is that what they use is fine, some of my friends even live there and claim they don’t face any challenges, the pad quality sold to us is terrible! The institutions claim to be researching on how to improve the situation, and I am like, please just maintain the quality you produce in the first world countries and we’ll be good, that’s all.”

“I care a lot about women, but don’t you have varieties to choose from? On the other hand, not all men will be willing to discuss such issues because they are considered as women issues. It would be great if women would have different choices to choose from. You can come together as women and make your own pads from cotton, start a company, and produce enough, make money and protect women’s health. You don’t need people from far to produce such fundamental and basic products for you.”

It’s fascinating, though, because since I was born, I have heard women empowerment programs and campaigns. You mean to date, women can not come together and solve such a fundamental issue? We have so many rich women who can invest in producing viable products for their fellow women and make profits in the process. Where are the so-called men with business mindsets, come here we have a business opportunity for you, actually a viable business opportunity. Make pads suitable for our women; that’s all.  

Mshai, “That’s a good idea and can be something to be implemented after some time, but for now we need solutions to the suffering women around us. The issue of variety, yes we do have them but not everyone can afford them they are too expensive and I have never tried any. 

Wakio, “A friend of mine once claimed that there is an unbelievable difference in pad quality from the products we use here and at the other end of the world. Anytime she used our products, she ended up with terrible pelvic cramps and back pain. Although many issues should be put into consideration when handling the sanitary towels horror” 

Tole, “All this problem has been caused by another problem which is corruption. Involved institutions face cases of inability to not allow or remove counterfeits off shelves and the nerve to confront the cartels behind it. Otherwise on behave of men, specifically those who love going down there with their tongues, we want them things sparklingly clean, we would support you in fighting this war”

They all laugh heartily and change the subject……


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