5 Reasons Why I am Opting for Reusable Sanitary Towels

Post written by Helen Patricia Amutuhaire, Content Developer, Reach A Hand, Uganda

I have finally found a solution to my menstrual challenges and it took me a total of 15 minutes. It happened at the Science Cafe hosted by the Health Journalists Network in Uganda (HEJNU) and supported by Reach A Hand, Uganda and UNFPA Uganda.

Since 2015, I have been suffering from burns every month due to the use of disposable sanitary pads (towels). Perhaps it’s because my flow has reduced recently or because I am older now (23), or perhaps it’s a reaction to the gel used in the pads.

Whatever the reason, the burns put me through hell because the pain is unbearable. The option of tampons is uncomfortable for me, but I still needed to use something. I am still young…these periods are here for a while!

The solution became clear as we discussed menstrual hygiene at the Science Cafe. I have been hearing about reusable pads for years now but like a lot of my girlfriends, I was convinced that they are not my kind of thing.  When AFRIpads explained how they actually work, I put aside the myths and hearsay and gave them a go.

Let me tell you the about magic of these pads and why you should try them out too:

  • Comfy and tender on the skin

When it comes to being cozy, the reusable pad has got it all. They are velvet-soft and smooth and the only sanitary towel with 100% certainty of not burning no matter how heavy the blood flow or how long the pad is worn. This is because they are made of cloth and not synthetic gels.

  • Easy on the pocket

Let’s do the math. A pack of 8 sanitary pads costs UGX 3500, an equivalent of $1. Normally a woman uses one and a half or two packs a month which is UGX 7000 – roughly $2. For those whose preference is tampons, a regular pack of 8 will set you back UGX 7000 ($2) or UGX 16000 ($5) for a maxi pack. Annually, that makes UGX 72,000 ($21) for sanitary pads, 84,000($24) for regular tampons or 192,000 ($54) for maxi packs of tampons. Now imagine a household with a mother and three daughters…you get the idea. On the flip side, a pack of 3 reusable sanitary pads is UGX 7000. That’s $2 for an entire year!

  • Eco-friendly

Anything that is environmental friendly has got my support. To handle my period and still be able to help preserve the environment is reason enough to entice me to use this innovation. Yes – use the reusable pads and be the hero who preserves her environment.

  • Effective

We have all experienced the dreaded nights when you have to wake up to change a pad because your flow is heavy. Did you know that Afripads reusable pads come with a night pad which is designed to last longer while you sleep? No more losing sleep over changing a pad in the middle of the night.

  • Secure

These pads have a liquid proof line on the back side which prevents the blood from leaking. The pads able to literally take away all of a girl’s menstrual worries one by one (except the cramps…that would be too good to be true). These pads have wings with toggles to secure them on your underwear so there’s no worry of the pad slipping off. If I’m at work and I need to change my pad, it comes with a clever pouch specifically designed to keep the used pad until I get home to wash it.

Cover photo credit: Reach A Hand, Uganda

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Category: Menstruation
Tagged with: Featured Organization    Menstrual health    menstrual hygiene    Menstruation    Reach a Hand    tampons    Uganda

Reach A Hand, Uganda

Reach A Hand, Uganda (RAHU), is a youth led non-profit organization focused on youth empowerment programs with an emphasis on sexual reproductive health and right, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

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  • Marianne Odell

    I’m kind of wondering if these really are more environmentally friendly than disposable,as they do need to be washed-and I’m guessing you’re going to need a LOT of water and soap-what about bacteria? I was under the impression that water was not readily available in African countries?

  • Really not sure how I feel about this concept – what if you’re out and about, have a REALLY heavy flow, desperately need to change the pad but have no way of cleaning the used one? I’m not sure many people would appreciate someone rinsing their used sanitary towel in the sinks of a public toilet.

    Or if you just popped a fresh one in, what do you with the old, dirty one? Wrap it up in some tissue and stuff it in your bag for the rest of the day until you can get home and wash it? I don’t know if they’re really that hygienic after all…

    • Wanda Fontaine RN

      I did training to girls we provided these pads to in Gulu Uganda in September of 2016. The water used is not as much as you would think. Small basin or bucket, to pre soak for about 15 min. Then small amount of soap and hand wash, rinse in clear water and air dry. Waste water can be used to water in garden.

  • Wanda Fontaine RN

    These are great. I did training at a distribution to girls in Gulu Uganda in September of 2016. The kit comes with a transport, liquid proof, reusable drawstring bag so you just put your soiled pad in the bag to safely transport home to clean. The pads also fold and snap into a compact little square that makes for extra room in transport, clean or soiled. The kit comes with a overnight pad that is a little longer and thicker, If one had a heavy flow day, using the overnight pad, even in daytime might be a great option. The customer of using disposables is just not economical for mist of these girls and the option of using old cloths and rags is not effective in preventing leaks and bleed throughs.