A review meeting on the Termination of Pregnancy Act held in Bindura this Monday witnessed lengthy discussions on the prevalence of unwanted pregnancies and back door abortions.
The review however opened up the reality that most health institutions in Mashonaland Central Province are running short of contraceptives.
“I am failing to access control pills for the past two months. I spent hours waiting in a queue to get pills and at times, I did not get them, so if I get pregnant they should allow us to abort at the hospital. How can I take care of the child I didn’t plan for in these economic hardships,” one of the residents, Mandi Piyasi said.
“Even if we banish condoms in schools, the reality is that girls are indulging in sexual activities, so it’s better off if they are injected with the Depo Provera and Jadel,” said Melissa Chayambuka, another resident.
The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) moved in to allay fears of contraceptive shortages but encouraged women to adopt long term contraceptive strategies which have a 99.7 percent success rate.
“We have a shortage of contraceptives in the country, especially the orals. As a country, we are doing our best to make sure we do not run out of the contraceptives as they are not manufactured locally. So we are encouraging people to move from the orals to methods like Jadel, the IUCD,” said ZNFPC Mashonaland Central Provincial Manager, Mrs Gertrude Katsande.
Last year during the same period, Mashonaland Central Province had an eight percent unmet needs of contraceptives and a 35 percent teenage pregnancy rate.
The shortage of contraceptives particularly condoms does not only aggravate unwanted pregnancies but can dent hopes of a zero new HIV infections target by 2030.