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Contraceptives still have a woman’s face: Misihairabwi

THE issue of contraceptives still has a woman’s face and gender bias exists in the education of contraceptives and uptake.

The remarks were made by MDC Proportional Representation legislator Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs public hearings on the health effects of hormonal contraceptives on the women of Zimbabwe and government adherence to the users fees policy in hospitals at the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) on Monday.

She said during the several meetings by the committees in Bulawayo, the issues of gender bias were still in existence and need to be addressed.

“We have found out that there is lack of information around contraceptives. The issues around that are gender bias as there is more discussion with women and no discussion with men because there is no clear policy that tries to target men, speak to how the role of men in issues of contraceptives are,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

She said they also found out that there was no clear policy for young people regarding access to contraception.

“We also found the issue of young people how they access contraception not so clear around the legal issues that are associated as others are saying, we are using the Constitution, others say we are using 16 years, so it doesn’t look like there’s a clear policy around young people in their access to contraception.

“Yet we speak to members of the public, they are admitting that there are a lot of teen pregnancies and that the issue of access to contraception for young people is something that has to be critical and has to be top on the agenda.”

UBH acting chief executive officer, Narcisaus Dzvanga echoed the similar sentiments, saying there was low uptake of female condoms and vasectomy for men.

“We encourage the pregnant women to come with their partners for counselling, but some of them are saying they are single mothers,” he said.

“Looking at the contraception for men, it is not easily accepted and in our population, it is minimum. What we do again is we have short and long term contraceptives and we educate them and tell them about the side effects. Now it’s up to them which one they will want to take. Looking again, the use of female condoms is not being used, its uptake is very low and the women have been taught about it but very few respond to it so as the vasectomy.”

Population Services Zimbabwe last week revealed that in 2017, they administered only 63 vasectomies nationwide.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa