Lesley Moyo, Radio Dialogue, August 27, 2014
Pronouncements by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede that government should ban contraceptives as they are a conduit of diseases has spooked women in Matabeleland who have reportedly flocked health care centres to have the implants removed on fear of developing cancer.
This came out at a National Arts Council Matabeleland North provincial stakeholders meeting held at a local hotel in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting raised concern at the number of women in the province who are ditching the contraceptives.
Mudede sparked controversy in July when he urged government to ban contraceptives as they had negative side-effects on women’s health.
“These drugs should be banned in country as they are also being rejected in other countries. They are killing productive women and this is also affecting our population,” Mudede said then.
Mudede added that the contraceptives were a ploy by first world countries to decelerate population growth in Africa.
An official from Zimbabwe Aids Network revealed that women in Matabeleland South were no longer keen on using contraceptives.
“We have noted with concern the high number of women are coming to health centres to have their Jadelle removed after they had from an influential public figure who was quoted in the media saying that it causes cancer,” said the official.
Another official corroborated the reports saying that she report a report from the province that one woman died of cancer suspected to have been caused by a contraceptive she was using.
“I have had similar reports reports coming from the province. Someone reported to us that they lost a sister to cancer, who had been told by their doctor that the cancer was caused by a contraceptive they were using,” said the official.
Jadelle implant is a form of a female hormone used to prevent pregnancy. The implant is inserted under the skin of the upper arm and is effective for five years.
Contraceptives are popular with many sexually active women who are opting to have smaller families mostly due to economic hardships the country is facing.
Some of the popular brands include Depo-Provera, Intrauterine Device (IUD), pill, emergency contraception pill, Norplant and condoms.
However, Mudede warned that some of these contraceptives have severe side effects that are detrimental to women’s health.
According to information gleaned from the Internt Drug Index, some of the common side effects of Norplant include headache, nervousness, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, rash, acne, change in appetite, weight gain, hair loss, prolonged menstrual bleeding, and spotting.
Common side effects of the Jadelle implant include irregular menstrual bleeding, application site reactions, dizziness, headache, vaginal discharge, breast pain, nausea, pelvic pain, urinary tract symptoms, vaginitis, and weight gain.