President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, November 21, approved the National Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Policy, aimed at scaling up the management of menstrual hygiene in the country.
This decision was reached after a lengthy Cabinet meeting chaired by President Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto at State House, Nairobi.
On May 28, 2019, which is commemorated the world over as the Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD), media personality Janet Mbugua, who is also a menstrual hygiene management advocate had called upon the government to put in place policies to improve menstrual health management among Kenya's female population.
Under the Basic Education (Amendment) Act, the government had stated that it would offer sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution, who has reached puberty and provide a safe and environmentally sound mechanism for disposal of the sanitary towels.
Mbugua had, however, complained that the act was not comprehensive enough and had left behind other groups of individuals who needed to benefit from the service by the government.
"It leaves out girls who aren’t enrolled in school, low-income women, women with disabilities, those enrolled in detention facilities and refugees, who also need this support. It also doesn’t state how the government intends to give out the sanitary pads," Mbugua had lamented.
The Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) stated that the President and the CSs had revisited the provision by the act to make it more inclusive and considerate to women in the country.
"The policy highlights MHM as a rights issue and brings it into the mainstream of the country's health and development agenda by considering the prevailing social, economic, cultural and demographic contexts of women and girls," PSCU wrote.
In the meeting, the Cabinet also approved the establishment of Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital and the designation of Gilgil Hospital as a satellite mental health facility of Mathari.
Further, the President directed the Ministry of Health to establish a task force on the status of mental health in the country and come up with new policies needed to address the growing concerns about mental health among Kenyans.
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