The Zambian parliament has unanimously adopted a motion for the free distribution of sanitary pads in schools.

Though the motion is not law, it means government must provide funds for the distribution of sanitary pads in the next budget.

The move comes after lawmaker Sebastian Kopulande observed on Wednesday that most menstrual products are expensive and pupils in rural areas cannot afford to buy them.

He urged the ministry of finance to consider removing customs duty and value added tax on menstrual products.

He questioned why poor female students are not entitled to free sanitary pads when condoms are distributed free of charge.

He said in his constituency alone, an estimated 70% of girls cannot afford to buy sanitary pads during their periods, which stopped them going to school at this time for fear of embarrassment.

Mr Kopulande lamented the fact that in the last three national budgets, funds had been allocated for distributing 14,000 sanitary towels in rural areas, but the government had not yet released the money.