The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has released new guidelines for the production of safe and quality reusable sanitary pads.

The new guidelines are contained in a new standard dubbed Kenya Standard – KS 2925:2020 Reusable sanitary towels Specification. This is a first edition guideline whose objective is to offer quality and affordable reusable sanitary pads especially for women and girls in low income areas who are currently forced to use clothes or other unhygienic materials or for students.

“The standard will address issues around performance of multiple-use sanitary pads by outlining absorbency requirements, fastening mechanism so that they do not move out of position, comfort and feel, skin sensitivity and odour, materials, care and user instruction for awareness”, says Esther Ngari, Director Standards Development and Trade, KEBS.

“The standard however retains the desired features of reusable pads including; high absorbency/no leakage, especially side leakage; no chafing (not abrasive, soft to the touch, to be friendly to skin); comfort to wear (thin body shape); good fit to the body contour, stay in place; no anaesthetic appearance or colour; no odour; no noise; no humidity that leads to skin rash; a high level of hygiene; and easy to use,” she adds.

According to the Menstrual Hygiene Policy launched by the Ministry of Health in May 2020, 58% of girls in rural settings and 53% of girls in urban areas in Kenya are unable to afford sanitary pads.

The new standard provides a healthy alternative to disposable sanitary pads especially for women and girls who face social issues such as stigma and missing school due to lack of access to safe and hygienic menstrual products.