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Dignity kits meet hygiene needs of women and girls amid COVID-19 pandemic

During pandemics, women and girls of reproductive age remain among the most severely affected population group – with a heightened need for specific health and hygiene services.

With the fast evolving challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, UNFPA Zambia, as part of the UN Zambia joint response to COVID-19, is supporting key actions aimed at integrating the needs of women and girls in national emergency responses. This support includes the provision of dignity kits in humanitarian settings and communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside community awareness programmes on available reproductive health services. 

Typically, a dignity kit comprises basic items such as sanitary pads, hygiene soap, underclothes and water buckets that women and girls need to maintain hygiene and respect in the face of crisis and pandemics.

“I recently delivered my baby. However, because of the COVID-19 outbreak in our District and the subsequent decision to lockdown the District, I was unable to prepare any basic sanitary items for use after delivery. I am therefore very grateful to receive these sanitary pads among other items contained in this dignity kit. They have really helped me in my greatest time of need” - says Sabrina*, a new mother in Nakonde District of Muchinga Province.

Sabrina* is among the estimated 85,000 women and adolescent girls of reproductive age with a heightened need for reproductive health information and services in Nakonde District, the new epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak in Zambia, located at the international border between Zambia and Tanzania.

I recently delivered my baby. However, because of the COVID-19 outbreak in our District and the subsequent decision to lockdown the District, I was unable to prepare any basic sanitary items for use after delivery. I am therefore very grateful to receive these sanitary pads among other items contained in this dignity kit. They have really helped me in my greatest time of need” - says Sabrina*, a new mother in Nakonde District of Muchinga Province.

Speaking when receiving the dignity kits on behalf of the Nakonde District Health Office, Dr. Arthur Mataka, District Health Director, acknowledged the timely support received from UNFPA, underscoring the need to scale-up provision of reproductive health information and services as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exercabate existing inequalities among women and girls.