Afripads donates over 100 menstrual hygiene kits to young girls at NTIHC



Managing menstrual hygiene in low income countries like Uganda continues to be a challenge due to lack of proper hygiene products and adequate sanitary facilities. Uganda is predominantly poor with most of its citizens living  below the poverty line.

Studies in Uganda have found that many girls struggle to attend and do well in school due to inadequate resources to manage their periods. Lack of education means that teachers, communities, and families do not have understanding of menstruation, and do not understand how to support girls to improve school attendance.  A study conducted in Rukungiri among girls in 6 primary schools indicated that 61.7% of the girls missed at least one day of school per month due to menstruation. The primary reason for missing school was that there was no private place for girls to wash and change at school, followed by fear of staining their clothes. The last reasons were due to discomfort or pain.




In commemoration of Women’s day 2022 – The AFRIpads Foundation,  the charitable arm of AFRIpads, donated 100 Schoolgirl Kits and AFRIpads Underwear worth over UGX 2,800,000, which will last the beneficiaries 12 months. In line with the 2022 International Women’s Day of “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, AFRIpads provided these disadvantaged teenagers and young mothers with a sustainable and dignified menstrual health solution.


Gertrude Emojong, National Marketing and Communications Lead, at AFRIpads, said:

“To celebrate International Women Day’s 2022 theme of: “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, we decided to give back to the community of teenagers and young mothers at Naguru Teenage Information and Centre (NTIHC). We believe that empowering teenage mothers is an important task, particularly in light of the alarming increase of teenage pregnancies in relation to COVID-19. We have partnered with the Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre to provide a long-lasting menstrual health and hygiene solution to 100 teenage girls.”

 “The AFRIpads Schoolgirl kit has been developed through user-centered design in collaboration with school-aged girls, with the aim of creating a set of reusable pads that best meet the needs and preferences of this age group. We are passionate in enabling girls to overcome menstrual barriers so they can achieve their full potential.” 


Mr. Asiimwe Sam, the –Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre program manager Said:

The partnership with AFRIpads comes in at the right time when teenagers and young mothers are struggling with menstrual hygiene challenges and most of which were have been fueled by COVID19.  NTIHC has for the past 27 years been supported young people in Uganda to access youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services – over 4.7 million  Young girls have been reached to date. With presence in 33 public health centers now – and with over 33 active youth clubs in central and west Nile, NTIHC is looking at utilizing these current partnerships to address the appalling issues of adolescents and young mothers. We hope to work with Africa’s more to meet the menstrual health needs of the young girls under our support.


AFRIpads has been a pioneer of Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) in Uganda since the organization’s inception in 2010. It has grown beyond locally manufacturing reusable sanitary pads in Masaka, Uganda to providing a complete MHH solution that includes products, an MHH Education Toolkit, and a comprehensive Data Collection Toolkit. To date, they have reached over 3.5 million women and girls and employ over 150 women in its factory in Masaka.

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Launch of Arua Centre of Excellence



For more than a decade now, the young people in the west Nile region have been exposed to several health challenges including unplanned and unintended pregnancies, Gender based violence (GBV), among others. These have in turn led to increased school dropout, child headed homes, poor economic wellbeing of the young people and their families. The COVID19 lockdowns and restrictions on movements further worsened the already existing dire situation.


According to the Education department of the Lugbara Cultural institution, more than three-thousand (3,000) girls got pregnant in the greater West Nile region during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Minister of Education in Lugbara Kari said that their findings indicated that some of the girls were impregnated by their parents and security guards deployed in their homes.


Sarah (not real name) is among the many young girls who gave birth during the lockdown. Sarah was raped by her aunt’s husband after she had failed to return to her real home due to the lockdown. Her hopes for returning back to school have since been shuttered by this ordeal. She narrated her story to our health worker at the Oli HCIV Youth corner saying that she now lives in so much fear since she cannot disclose some of the scenarios to her actual biological father.

Figure 1; NTIHC Program Manager speaking to the media after delivering youth corner equipment at Oli HC IV

Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre (NTIHC) in partnership with the Arua City leadership has set up a Regional Centre of Excellence that is going to support young people in the region to access youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services. The center of excellence that is being hosted at Oli HCIV in Arua Central division shall strengthen youth friendly health service delivery within the region, integrate socio economic interventions to meet the economic needs of young people, especially those out-of-school.


To further close existing health gaps in the region, NTIHC will look at engaging the regional leaders through various advocacy fora. During the 2019 World Population Day the regional leaders committed to supporting investments for harnessing the Demographic Dividend (DD) by domesticating and integrating DD interventions in the Local Government plans and annual budgets. Investing in young people through refocusing on improving the quality of education to ensure that the young people especially the girl complete primary and secondary education. Investing in skills development through increased tertiary education, innovation and entrepreneurship, enhancing creation of quality jobs and getting more young people into meaningful employment. Strengthening health system to ensure a healthy population, child survival and reduction in deaths of mothers due to pregnancy related complications and child birth; increasing access of young people to sexual and reproductive health information and services and renewing the promise of empowering youth to contribute significantly to socio economic transformation and development.

NTIHC will through the regional center of excellence follow up on these commitments.

                                        Figure 2; Teenage mothers waiting to see a health worker at the youth corner


Compiled by Thembo Joshua – BCC/Advocacy Coordinator


Give more time to the young people

Adolescent Health

Adolescent Health: Nursing Officer wants more time given to adolescents while attending to them at health facilities.

Rachael Namara, a nursing officer at Mpigi Health center IV says that some of the adolescent health related issues require ample time to be addressed.


Namara, who is in charge of the youth corner at the facility was sharing her experience, during a technical support visit by Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre  staff, aimed at empowering health facility and youth corner teams to deliver quality adolescent sexual and reproductive health  services.

 “I’ve realized that adolescents have issues that need to be addressed, and these issues can only be addressed to detail if clinicians give more time and attention to the young people”


Some times when they come, they’re worked on so first and not given time to air out all their issues; tell the clinician what they’re feeling or what they want because some of the things are not typically medical, they need advice through counselling, psychosocial support,” she noted.

Namara further revealed that with challenge of stock outs of drugs, the adolescents are likely to miss out on them.

Namara also recommended the intensification of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) education in schools.

“Since they stayed home for a long period of time of COVID19 lock down, some of them joined some bad groups, they need counselling. Like one of them was telling me he was abusing drugs, and feared to take the COVID-19 vaccine because he thought that maybe it could affect him,” she noted.


It should be noted that Mpigi district, is one of the districts that were hit by an increase in teenage pregnancies during the COVID-19 lockdown.


According to the Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre data for the period ” 2020 & 2021, 3,411 teenagers attended antenatal care services at the Kiswa based health facility. Furthermore during the same period, of the 710 teenagers who had a pregnancy test, 244 (34%) returned a positive pregnancy test of which 46% of the positive pregnancy tests were unwanted.”

However, Sr. Margaret Nannozi, the Ag District Health Officer (DHO), Mpigi noted that adolescent health is currently one of the priority focus areas for the district as a whole. She said that the district has considered intensifying quarterly support supervision to all health centers.


Apparently, all district leaders including the Resident District Commissioner (RDCS), LC5, and the district health teams are conducting joint support supervision to the health facilities to ensure that the young people within the various communities are enjoying and are accessing quality health services.


She also recommended the strengthening of stakeholder coordination for adolescent health services within the district. She said that District Committee on Adolescent Health (DICAH) model is a good for multi- sectoral. She therefore called for a multi sectoral sharing engagement among all stakeholders that are engaged in delivery of health services and programs that target young people.

Adding, “Since the district is engaging in quarterly monitoring for health service delivery, it’s important that all partners who are delivering and supporting the delivery of health services at the district ensure that their monitoring tools are aligned to those of the district. This will help in joint tracking of performance of adolescent health programs.”