1 December 2017
THE use of contraceptives in rural and peripheral areas remains very low in Zimbabwe.
A tour of the small scale mining area in Mambowa, Shurugwi revealed that many young women who entered into marriage at an early age did not have access to contraceptives and where available, they could not afford.
In an interview with H-Metro, Muchaneta Machirori, a 22-year-old mother, with three children below five years said:
“I never used any contraceptives for a long time due to various reasons.
“We normally get lessons on the need to use contraceptives when we visit the clinic for baby wellness but I cannot afford the $1 charge for pills.
Machirori said in the past health workers used to distribute family planning pills for free but it is now a thing of the past.
“Our village health workers used to supply us with family planning pills but now they no longer do so. I wish that system would be brought back because it empowers me as a woman to control my reproductive system.
Machirori said her three children who are aged five; three and one are not by choice.
“My biggest fear is that I might even fall pregnant again because once I stop breastfeeding I will be susceptible to another pregnancy.”
She had in the past tried traditional forms of family planning but the methods came in with their own side effects.
Population Services Zimbabwe country director, Abebe Shibru said;
“Family planning has advantages in that it improves the health, education, and well-being of women, as well as allowing countries to invest in economic development. No operations and capital grant was availed to the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council by the government from 2014,” he said.
Dr Munyaradzi Murwira, director of the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, noted the challenges associated with boosting contraceptive use in the country.
According to the 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey – the country exceeds the global average on contraceptive prevalence in sub Saharan Africa with 67 percent of married women aged 15 to 49 years having access to contraceptives.
Zimbabwe’s family planning strategy is to increase contraceptive prevalence rate from 59 percent to 68 percent by 2020, and in the process reducing teenage pregnancies from 24 percent to 12 percent by 2020.