BY: Aida Aziz
IPOH: The state government will refine the proposal to place sanitary napkin vending machines in strategic areas, especially in primary schools to eradicate the issue of menstrual poverty.
The Chairman of the Women, Family, Social Welfare and Entrepreneur Development Committee, Salbiah Mohamed said, the need to provide sanitary napkins is more concentrated in primary schools, where disclosure about the matter is not yet widespread.
“In the past, this menstrual process started at the age of entering high school and we did not focus on students in primary school.
“But the average feedback I receive from students is that they have been menstruating since elementary school.
“That’s why if there is a need, we can think of establishing (sanitary self-service machines) in primary schools, as suggested by the Exco before,” she said.
She said this to reporters at a press conference after officiating the Menstrual Poverty Eradication Program: Provision of Women’s Sanitary Basic Kits (PROKIS) at SMK Raja Chulan, here, on Thursday.
Also present, is the Director of Perak State Women and Community Development Secretariat (Perak Women), Jamilah Zakaria and Deputy Director of Education (Pupil Development Sector) Perak State Education Department, Zulkafli Mohamed Mokhtar.
In the meantime, she said a total of 150 students today received one-time assistance with sanitary kits including washable sanitary napkins that can be used for up to four years.
She also said that PROKIS will be expanded into 12 districts in Perak, where SMK Raja Chulan will be the organisation’s first location.
“For the year 2023, PROKIS will concentrate recipients from among eligible students in Perak through cooperation with the Perak State Education Department,” she said.
When asked if there is a plan to give free sanitary napkins to B40 students every month, Salbiah said the matter has not yet been decided.
“So far it hasn’t been (for free every month), we will look at the results of the responses given later, depending on the data and so on,” she said.
Previously, the media reported that the vending machine was also proposed to be placed in public locations such as recreational areas and schools.
Meanwhile, for school student, Nur Aqilah Nasuha Muhamad Rizuan Shah 14, she and her friends welcome the proposal, which makes it easier for students to get sanitary pads.
“I agree because it makes it easier for us to get sanitary napkins, we can ask friends or teachers but there may be time constraints and so on.
“If you suddenly get your period at school, maybe friends and teachers don’t bring (sanitary towels), if there is a self-service machine it’s easier,” she said.
The same opinion was given by Nur Ainul Najwa Md Badrul Hisyam, 14, who felt that the matter was necessary for students.
“I agree because it’s easier, sometimes we understand that even friends bring sanitary napkins just for their own needs,” she said.