Women warned against abusing emergency contraceptives

By ZBC Reporter

Women have been warned against abusing emergency contraceptives, amid revelations that almost three thousand units of the pill were consumed in four months in Matabeleland south province during the first quarter of the year.
Matabeleland South province has a high HIV and AIDS prevalence rate while cases of other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis are high.
However, it seems most young people are oblivious to the facts on the ground as they are still indulging in unprotected sex.
In an interview with ZBC News, Zimbabwe family planning council Matabeleland South provincial manager Nelson Mashiri noted with concern the high usage of emergency contraceptives also known as the morning-after pill, among young women in tertiary institutions.
“We have noted with concern the uptake in the use of emergency contraceptives. In 2019 2900 units of the pill were consumed in a space of four months. At our static clinic, we used 30. We note that the youths are using the pill as a contraceptive which is a challenge as we have 19.3 percent of our population is HIV positive,” Mashiri said
He said he is concerned about the rate of teenage pregnancies as it is a reflection of what is transpiring on the ground where young people are indulging in unprotected sex exposing themselves to various sexual diseases.
“We feel it’s very high (teenage pregnancy rate which stands at 30 percent) and it tells a story that youths are indulging without protection which is very worrisome. We expect that young women will qualify from their tertiary institutions and feed into the workforce of the nation. But we are worried that they exposed to many diseases which may result in a loss of the human resources that the country badly needs,” he said
A local Pharmacist Mkhululi Mpofu weighed in saying the uptake of condoms is mostly high among commercial sex workers while between 30 and 40 units of emergency contraceptives are sold to youths in the Gwanda town every week.
“ it seems like our youths are more scared of being pregnant than being infected with sexually transmitted infections. We have however seen some young girls eventually seeking medication for sexually transmitted diseases which is quite worrying,” Mpofu said.
The stakeholders warned that using morning after pills as a continuous contraceptive can lead to reproductive health issues such as infertility and recommended the use of proper family planning methods.
Meanwhile, the province recorded 8 824 cases of sexually transmitted infections in 2019, with the worst affected districts being Beitbridge, Gwanda and Insiza.