The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council yesterday dismissed allegations that women in Zimbabwe were using contraceptives that have been banned in other countries. The council confirmed the side effects of birth control methods that were highlighted by Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede when he made a presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development recently.
The side effects include headaches, weight gain, irregular bleeding and low sexual desire among others.
Mr Mudede has been advocating natural methods that do not have side effects on women’s health.
Presenting before the same committee yesterday, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) executive director, Dr Munyaradzi Murwira said the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe continuously reviews and updates the list of medicines including contraceptives based on current evidence and international world health organisation standards and recommendations.
“The contraceptives are still being used in Europe, South America and Asia. The contraceptives in Zimbabwe are certified safe and effective both internationally and locally.
“The assertion that they are dangerous and cause birth defects is false and without scientific backing,” he said.
He said while natural methods could be used for family planning, they were not reliable.
“Natural methods have a high risk of failure, exposing many women to the risk of unplanned pregnancy with dire consequences on the health of women and children,” he said.
Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (TMPRC) board member Mrs Joyce Tumbare said the withdrawal method was difficult to manage.
“The method is not reliable as people cannot control themselves. We rely on traditional herbs such as the ‘mukutura’ that is more reliable and allows women to space their children,” she said.