The Walloon Government has announced that they will be handing out free sanitary products throughout Wallonia, La Dernière Heure reports. Regional Health Minister Christie Morreale (PS) indicated that €675,000 will be allocated for the distribution.
"Good news for women: free sanitary protection for women and girls in difficult situations will be distributed everywhere in Wallonia. For women's rights, Wallonia is taking action!" Morreale tweeted on Wednesday.
Having distributed sanitary products for free this time last year in the Walloon provinces Namur, Hainaut and Liège, Morreale announced that it will now be extended to Luxembourg and Walloon Brabant, covering the whole region.
The minister has confirmed that the initiative is part of the government's plan to combat "period poverty", with "women having to spend on average between €10 and €12 per month on these products" which can total up to over €140 per year.
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According to Morreale, this has led some to have to choose between sanitary protection or their food purchases, with those most affected often being students, single mothers and homeless women. "There is also a risk of being taken away from school or work during menstruation, and the shame of not having enough money," the Minister explained.
Medics have revealed that this has led to serious infections caused by homemade sanitary products with rags, newspapers or socks.