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Dignity Kits bring hygiene supplies to quarantined women in Zanzibar

Bikombo* says she was lucky she had the chance to gather some of the things she would need for her stay at the government-run quarantine facilities in Mtoni – on the outskirts of Zanzibar Town – when she learned that her COVID-19 test result was positive. Sharrifa* – her roommate in the quarantine facility – was not so lucky.  She arrived in the clothes she was wearing and although her relatives brought her additional effects and supplies, she did not feel able to ask them to bring the pieces of cloth she uses to control her menses – in any case she wouldn’t be able to wash and dry them in the facility without being seen by others.  

Shariffa says she became increasingly worried and did not know what she would do if her period started while she was still in quarantine. She was therefore relieved when she received a UNFPA Dignity Kit containing sanitary pads, underwear, antibacterial soap, and washing powder, everything she would need to maintain both her hygiene and dignity during her stay.  

UNFPA Tanzania has distributed more than 40 Dignity Kits to women in five COVID-19 quarantine facilities in Unguja and Pemba, Zanzibar, through the Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Women and Children (MLEEWC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Zanzibar, ensuring that women still have access to personal hygiene products in spite of pandemic-related movement restrictions.  

“When you are a woman with COVID-19 and you do not know how you will manage your basic needs, it’s like you are traumatized twice” 

“When you are a woman with COVID-19 and you do not know how you will manage your basic needs, it’s like you are traumatized twice,” said Ms. Halima Abdulrahman, Senior Gender Programme Officer at MLEEWC, emphasizing the importance of the Dignity Kits to quarantined women.

As the pandemic evolves in Tanzania, UNFPA continues to ensure that the health and rights of women and girls remain at the forefront of recovery efforts, and that access to essential life-saving services and supplies is maintained, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized.

Names* have been changed. 

By Ali Hamad, UNFPA Zanzibar