Pavement contraceptives

The Harare City Council’s Health Department is concerned that women are purchasing unsafe contraceptives from street vendors.

Harare City Director of Health Services, Stanley Mungofa, said the storage of these contraceptives did not meet basic standard requirements.

“In health centres drugs are properly stored, unlike on the streets where they are kept in a bag or in a pocket which is exposed to heat or cold,” he said. “Acquiring birth control medication from health institutions is a challenge most women face because of the cost involved.”

Grace Banda (33), said she had no other option but to buy her family planning pills on the street. “I can’t afford the consultation fee at a formal health outlet”, she said. “Buying from a vendor for only R2 is cheaper.”

However, Mungofa said there were dangers of taking the medication without a proper examination. “Before a patient is prescribed a certain method of contraception, they are screened and examined to see which medication is suitable for them,” said Mungofa.

He added that vendors did not have health facilities to carry out these examinations.

“There are risks of pregnancy, cervical cancer, abnormal bleeding, hypertension and overdosing,” said Mungofa.

He also said there was a risk of the vendors selling fake medication since it was impossible to trace the drugs to their source.

One of the vendors in Harare, who preferred not to be named, refused to reveal the source of his medication. “What matters the most is that we sell affordable medication to our customers,” he said, adding that vendors tried to store medication in a safe place.

Post published in: News

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