There Are No Menstrual Supplies Because Raw Materials Are Lacking," Justifies Cuban Manufacturer

Women line up at a pharmacy in Cuba for menstrual supplies. (Video Screen Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 March 2018 — The production of sanitary pads is paralyzed due to lack of raw materials and will only be resumed in May, according to Emma Hernández Ibarra, general director of the National Hygienic-Sanitary Materials Company, Mathisa, speaking to Cuba’s official press.

“The company suffered a delay in the arrival of the raw material that is used for the production of sanitary pads, and the purchase of cellulose, and for this reason production is paralyzed,” explained the official on the newscast on Wednesday.

“At this moment, this raw material is already on its way [to Cuba] and we have an estimated date of arrival of April 30 and in May we will began our production with a strategy of gradual recovery,” added Hernández.

According to the official, the aim is to “increase the production schedule” so that the monthly supply received by women of childbearing age can be met through the rationed market at the country’s pharmacies.

“It may be that during the month they will receive some pads and another part of their ration as cotton depending on the availability of that product in the logistics chain,” she said.

According to statements made by Hernández herself to the official press in 2017, this problem affected the production of pads in the three factories devoted to them at that time.

“Of the ten raw materials needed for sanitary pads (popularly known as ‘intimates’), eight are imported from countries such as Spain, Italy and China, and only the packaging material is obtained in the domestic market,” said the official.

In a report published in this newspaper in March, women’s opinions about this product were surveyed. Many complain about the poor quality of the product and that the 10 pads allowed for each monthly menstrual cycle are not enough, in addition to frequent shortages of even that number.

Outside the gynecological and obstetric hospital Gonzalez Coro a doctor explained to 14ymedio that “on average a woman uses three to four sanitary pads” on a day of menstruation, and a menstrual cycle lasts between five and seven days.

Given the shortage of the product, consumers shop in the hard currency markets for pads, and look for friends to bring tampons into the country, along with the lesser known silicone cup.


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