28 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Family Planning On the Streets


As I sat as an observer among community members of Epworth, a satellite town about 15 kilometres east of Harare, discussing gender and sexual and reproductive health rights issues among women and girls, I was surprised by what I heard as the discussion about gender went on.

One major interesting topic was that about family planning.

Despite the fact that these people stay just a few kilometres from the capital, their knowledge about family planning leaves a lot to desired.

One woman said she buys contraceptive pills from vendors at the local shopping centre and has never bothered to read the expiry date. Even worse she has never been to a doctor or family planning clinic to discuss her issues with anyone qualified to do so.

She declared that poverty is the root cause as to why women buy these pills on the streets. What she did not know is that it costs just $1 to buy these pills from Family Planning Clinic and some even offer them for free if people cannot afford them.

It also became clear that some women still went on to conceive after taking these street bought pills.

I soon put two and two together and realised that these family planning pill vendors are the ones who go to the clinic and hoard the free pills to use for resale. Pills that cost $1 for the whole month are sold for $1a week.

Ignorance certainly abounds in this country.

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