Concern has been raised over the inability of contraceptives to be 100 percent effective, with certain quarters calling for the country to consider allowing termination of unplanned pregnancies as a result of this gap.

The reason why women use contraceptives is to prevent unplanned pregnancy but unfortunately these family planning methods are not 100 percent effective.

In the event that one falls pregnant under those circumstances the country’s laws do not allow termination of the pregnancy.

Gwanda Provincial Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr Pugie Chimberengwa told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs that this has forced women to resort to back yard abortion which leads to health complications.

“The law only allows us to terminate pregnancy under limited circumstances but some of these contraceptives have a high failure rate. Women then ask us to abort the pregnancy but we can’t and what do they do? They insert sticks inside their wombs and they are back here with complications. Managing such cases becomes even more costly to the health delivery system,” said Dr Chimberengwa.

On the scrapping of user fees for pregnant mothers, stakeholders urged the government to fully support Gwanda Provincial Hospital which is poorly resourced, adding that women are sometimes forced to purchase medical consumables that should be provided by the institution.

“Yes, we get services for free but at the end of the day, it is not free as we have to buy certain drugs and equipment, cotton wool and sanitary pads which should be provided by the hospital “ said one participant, Ms Mpofu.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Priscillah Misiharabwi – Mushonga commended stakeholders for highlighting pertinent issues which, if addressed, will help improve the lives of women.

“The contributions by stakeholders were quite enlightening, particularly the issue raised by the medical superintendent is one we have to look into as legislators” she said.

The committee was in Gwanda to appreciate the challenges faced in accessing contraceptives and to find out whether the provincial hospital and local clinics are implementing the new user fee policy.