With financial support from Women Fund Tanzania-Trust, HCCGWT is working hard to respond to hygiene and SRH issues by reaching out adolescents, young people and community influencers such as teachers, religious, faith, parents with SRH information and services, and hygiene and management.
Halima Lila, HCCGWT Executive Director said: “Our focus is to strengthen the provision of SRH services and information towards marginalized groups and communities especially adolescents, young people, and women in Katavi.
To fulfill the objectives, the organization works in collaboration with Council Health Management Team (CHMT) in Tanganyika District to respond to hygiene and SRH issues, Halima Lila, noting that adolescents and young people in Katavi are engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors, exposing themselves to high rate of teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and STIs including HIV/AIDS.
In addressing the challenge, HCCGWT gave proper education and distributed 3,312 condoms as a mechanism to prevent HIV/AIDS prevention and unwanted pregnancies. Proper condoms are believed to significant and reduce the chances for an HIV positive person to infect his/her partner.
The organization also supported seven primary and secondary schools by distributing 5,472 sanitary towels for girls and young women. This came after releasing that female students face great challenges in terms of hygiene and sanitation in and out of schools.
“For girls who are menstruating, these problems compound the difficulties posed by the inability to afford sanitary towels as well as cultural taboos around menstruation, as a result, many girls miss on average of four days of school every month which is over a month in a year, meaning they fall behind in class and sometimes even drop out of school,” she said.
HCCGWT advises the school boards and teachers on the importance of providing a changing room for girls when they are on their period since most schools lack private areas for changing menstrual materials.
On the other hand, HCCGWT donated 40 delivery packs to Ikola and Kasekese dispensaries which will be distributed by health care providers to underprivileged mothers. These maternity packs contain essential items to keep the unborn baby in good health but mothers as well. The majority of these moms come from poverty-stricken communities and these packs provide them with items which they would not be able to purchase ensuring better health as well as mental well-being.”
Reports show that Katavi has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country, with 45 percent of teenage girls aged 15-19 becoming pregnant, the national rate is 27 percent. Katavi region faces a number of challenges that contribute to the high teen pregnancy rate, including a lack of reproductive health education, cultural practices that discourage girl’s education and early marriage.
On sanitation and hygiene, HCCGWT said the organization focused on supporting health workers, protecting them from impacts of unhygienic and facilitating them fulfill their daily duties efficiently.
From providing public awareness on hygiene and reproductive health, HCCGWT has donated medical equipment which include 35 liters of spirits, 550 surgical masks, 80 water buckets, 40 delivery packs, condoms 3,312, sanitary towels 5,472 and 270 kilograms of soaps to facilitate the regular hand washing, positive hygiene behavior, in Ikola and Kasekese wards in Tanganyika District.
The supplies were distributed and hand washing stations established in Ikola and Kasekese dispensaries as well as in five (5) primary schools—Kasekese, Kagunga, Kafisha, Lake Tanganyika, and Ikola primary school and two secondary schools-- Kasekese and Ikola secondary schools.
Dr Selemani Mtenjela, Tanganyika District Medical Offiver (DMO) said: “The donated equipment specifically maternity pack will be distributed to those women who are coming far from the dispensaries and those coming to the dispensary for delivery unexpectedly without being prepared, this will encourage pregnant women to use health facilities for safe labor and delivery services as well covering the District needs.”
Venance Tesha, Tanganyika District Health School Coordinator said: “Generally this is our first time to receive sanitary towel donation in our seven primary and secondary schools located at Kasekese and Ikola wards, this was our major need, we believe that this sanitary towels will help girls and young women during their menses.”
“It is very good that HCCGWT distributed it to schools, girls and young women will be able to attend classes without fail because they are sure of the service at the schools, parents were also very happy that their children received sanitary towels whereby it’s rare to get home sanitary towels from the shops around the schools despite the traditional ones such as old cloths are commonly used, this intervention will build the well-being of female students in school and creates a clean environment for teaching and learning”