By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, November 26, 2016 – THE Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) says some sexually active youths in the country were abusing emergency contraception known as morning after pills to prevent pregnancy.
The council said universities students were among the groups that regularly used the birth control method.
Speaking during a media briefing this past week, ZNFPC Manicaland provincial manager Dyson Masvingise said the continuous consumption of the pills had negative implications on the users’ hormonal levels.
“I think our youngsters should be informed. Morning after pills should not be used repeatedly because it is branded under what we call emergency contraception and they are not a family planning method. So they should not be in shortage like that.
“The media should disseminate information to students that they should rather be on a family planning method that best suits their preferences and these are offered for free to anyone less than 24 years of age,” Masvingise said.
He said morning after pills were mere emergency contraceptives.
He was responding to reports of a shortage of morning after pills throughout the country.
Some sections of the media attributed the shortage to overwhelming reliance on the pill by most sexually active youths, especially those in universities.
Investigations by RadioVOP pointed to some contractual challenges with international funding partners.
ZNFPC provincial marketing and communications manager Daniel Maromo said what they have observed is clear abuse of the pill out of sheer ignorance.
“They are abusing the drug. It is not supposed to be taken as a daily dose. It’s just for emergency cases. Also there is no way we can say in Zimbabwe, we don’t have emergency contraceptives because there are other conventional contraceptives that can be used also as emergency methods,” said Maromo.
He said there are other emergency family planning methods such as IUCD, POP and COC that should be used instead of repeatedly taking morning after pills.
ZNFPA indicated that regular use of morning after pills subjects users to nausea, headaches, vomiting among other side effects, which can be detrimental to health.
They indicated that morning after pills are made up of synthetic hormones that trigger similar hormonal levels in one’s body, which have far reaching health implications if frequently triggered.