Birth control pills litter Harare streets

HARARE - Family planning pills which have flooded the streets of Harare are getting a ready market from women shying from clinics and pharmacies.

During a discussion on sexual and reproduction health rights in Epworth last week, women revealed how they would rather buy contraceptives from the streets instead of going to a local clinic.

This is despite the street cost being higher in both dollar and health terms.

One of the women told participants she “always” bought pills from the street but despite taking these pills religiously, she is pregnant.

“Going to the hospital is expensive and time consuming, so I have decided to buy on the street. But even after taking these pills I have fallen pregnant. Saka hazvibatsiri (It is useless taking the pills)” said the mother-of-six.

Another Epworth resident who identified herself only as Mai Brendon said she at times diverted money for household utilities to buy pills from the nearest vendor.

“Sometimes I buy the pills instead of relish for the evening because if I don’t do that I will give birth like a dog and children are expensive,” said the mother-of-two.

The Daily News on Sunday revealed that most vendors selling these pills on the streets hoard from local clinics and pharmacies.

Most women choose to buy Duofem and Control on the street for $1 when in clinics they are given for free while pharmacies charge half the street price.

Vendors selling skin lightening creams and the famous appetite pills, commonly known as appetito, are your guys if looking for birth control pills on the street.

Local pharmacists said due to hoarding and inadequate storage, some of the birth control pills sold on the streets have expired and are ineffective.

According to the most recent Zimbabwe Health Demographic Survey done in 2005, the use of modern family planning methods is highest in the urban provinces of Harare 63 percent and Bulawayo 60 percent.

Manicaland has the lowest level of modern contraceptive use at 34 percent.

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