An Ethiopian woman has designed and manufactured reusable sanitary pads to help about 800 000 women and girls throughout the country, according to TV news station CNN

Freweini Mebrahtu, who studied chemical engineering in the US, designed and patented reusable sanitary pads in 2005 after experiencing the stigma associated with menstruation and battling to afford and access sanitary pads while growing up in Ethiopia, CNN reported.

“When I started back in 2005, no one was talking about this. It was a struggle. It took me two years to get financing for the project because they didn’t think anyone would buy it. I had to convince them that this is a basic necessity. It wasn’t easy, but I thought ‘someone has to do this. If I don’t do it, no one will’,” she told the station.

Mebrahtu was also voted one of the CNN heroes of the year for 2019.

The sanitary pads are washable, so they are reusable

They are made with an absorbent cotton lining and waterproof backing, and are held securely in a woman’s underwear with a button. The pad can last up to two years, folds up into a compact package, and costs 90 percent less than a year’s supply of disposable pads, CNN reported.

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She now produces 750 000 sanitary pads a year at the factory named after her daughter, Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory. And from 2009, 800 000 women and girls in Ethiopia had benefited from her invention.

Over 80 percent of the pads produced are purchased by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that distribute it for free. Mebrahtu won the 2019 CNN Hero of the Year Award.

Author: ANA Newswire