KZN health department applauded for free sanitary pads programme

KwaZulu-Natal's new, free sanitary pads are being distributed to learners who cannot afford them. (Twitter: @ANCKZN)

KwaZulu-Natal's new, free sanitary pads are being distributed to learners who cannot afford them. (Twitter: @ANCKZN)

The KwaZulu-Natal education department has been praised after it released a circular announcing the launch of a programme to provide free sanitary pads to girls at school.

In its circular, the provincial education department says poor learners in 2 992 quintile 1 to 4 schools from grade 4 to 12 will receive a free pack of pads. It will be up to the principal of each school to ensure the learners receive the pads.

“This initiative seeks to reduce the drop-out rate of girl learners — caused by missing out on school, due to not being able to afford sanitary pads,” the department said.

The move has been hailed as progressive after ongoing initiatives to pressure government into  launching a free pads programme .  

Mail & Guardian journalist Pontsho Pilane last year presented a proposal in Parliament for the introduction of free pads and tampons in South Africa.  

Although  MPs argued in Parliament in April last year that value added tax should be removed from pads, Pilane said the treasury found that learners would not benefit from the removal of VAT. Such a move was more likely to advantage wealthy people.

While the treasury tries to work out how the budget can include free sanitary pads for all poor learners in the country, the KwaZulu-Natal education department has received applause on Twitter.

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