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Maira,* a female teacher at a government school in Zanzibar, says that menstrual hygiene is still a big challenge for girls. “Most of our female students come from poor families; many of them cannot afford to buy sanitary pads,” she says. At her school they have a small budget to buy menstrual hygiene products as well as pain relief, which helps to keep girls in school during their monthly cycle, but most of the ti...
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Afaafa* (19 years) had her first period almost six years ago. She remembers her mother took her from their home in Mwembe njugu (near Zanzibar Town) to Makadara, where her mother’s best friend Bi. Maimuna lives. She stayed there for nine days learning about the importance of cleanliness during menstruation and what could be used to manage the menstrual flow – including using pieces of cloth, which she was told should...
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Nuriat Koku Mtumbi remembers that day in March well. “It was raining heavily and Adimu* had delivered her baby on her way to our facility. She was shielding herself under a tree, but her mother managed to get her here.” Adimu was bleeding heavily on her arrival and her newborn baby was struggling to breathe. “I worked quickly, drawing on what I had learnt during my training,” Nuriat says, “and managed to save both...

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