By Mpho Shelile

MASERU – Hidden behind the indulgent glamour of the industry are toxic secrets that have been whipped into luscious potions that disposable pads are harmless, but it turns out reusable pads are much safer.

Makelebone Thamae from Tsoapo le bolila, Qoaling, is the managing director and co-founder of BOHLOKOA PRODUCTS PTY LTD, which was established in November 2022. The company produces reusable sanitary pads. The idea came to life with the assistance of BEDCO’s business plan drafting sessions.

“I had a problem of severe bleeding and fatigue because of the usage of disposable pads in 2018, I the decided to try out reusable pads which I purchased from a company in South Africa and since my switch I have been free from the sickness during my periods. That made me realize that there is an opportunity gap which I could benefit from and the country at large too”, she said. Adding that the idea for her company came from the troubles she had faced. Bohlokoa products produces reusable pads (sanitary pads and face clothes) and microfiber swabs. The future prospects of the company is to invent more products with will help in making sure everyone maintains cleanliness.

The name Bohlokoa was inspired by how important the company is to me, “when I first began this whole journey I had one thing and one thing in mind. Which was how important God is and how important reusable sanitary pads are to girls and women in their monthly cycle, and how accommodative they are to those with financial constraints”, she highlighted.   

 So far the company has two employees, “our main challenge is marketing and the other challenges is the sourcing of raw materials for Production. We are still a developing company so what we need is just time to grow”, said Mrs. Kelebone. She stated that they are using Facebook as the only social media to market and advertise their business.  New innovations are still under construction; like face pads. “The company’s current plan for growth is sustainable production and manufacturing, as well as efficient production and positioning ourselves in strategic sales,” she indicated.

The goal of her company is to preserve, health, and the habitat of Lesotho by upgrading sanitation, and hygiene products. And provide education about menstruation cycle. “Cleanliness and hygiene are one of the most important properties of sanitary products. Many women are skeptical about the cleanliness of reusable products. For example, people often think period blood to be dirty or nasty, and feel that once dirtied, you should throw sanitary products away. This is a longstanding myth, and studies have pointed out how period blood is not dirtier than any other blood. On the contrary, period blood comes from a part of the body so clean and hygienic”, said ‘Makelebone.

 She further added that there is absolutely nothing wrong with cleaning reusable pads, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are in any way ‘unclean’. They are at least as clean as disposable pads. Dr Anne Henderson a highly experienced Consultant gynecologist, specializing in all aspects of women’s health with a special interest in all aspects of menopause from the United Kingdom, says that despite what most people think, conventional disposable pads are not sterile, and reusable pads are no different. Yes, you have to clean reusable pads.

“The easiest way to clean your pads is to rinse them in cold water then pop them into the washing machine or washing basin. You can wash them on cold or warm settings just avoid using hot water as they have the potential to set stains. Some people prefer putting them in a wash bag, so they’re separate from the rest of the load. Then, you can either air dry the pads or tumble dry on a low setting”, said Makelebone.

A lot of harsh chemicals are used to make disposable pads which can prove to be harmful to our skin. Along with this, they also develop bacteria that can affect your vaginal health. On the other hand, reusable pads are chemical-free and cause bacterial growth. She added that after one time use, they can be washed with water and soap and used again. Wash them properly, and this effectively cleans them ready for re-use, and as long as they are washed and dried properly, they are as sterile as a new disposable pad.