Bridget Mananavire 16 May 2017
HARARE – Government has tasked the Zimbabwe National Family Planning
Council (ZNFPC) to investigate alleged smuggling of contraceptives to
South Africa (SA).
According to reports, there is a thriving market for the Marvelon family
planning pills in the neighbouring country – where multitudes of
Zimbabweans have migrated to – as dealers sell them to women who do not
want contraceptives dispensed by South African health authorities.
In SA, the Oralcon pill, which is disbursed for free, is available, but
most women, particularly Zimbabwean migrants, prefer the Marvelon.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa said ZNFPC – a parastatal mandated to
coordinate, provide and monitor family planning in the country – was
expected to give a full report on the issue, which will guide both SA and
Zimbabwe on how to address the matter.
“. . . ZNFPC’s . . . full report will enable us to coordinate across the
border,” he said.
The family planning council distributes Marvelon – supplied by United
Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) – to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
The pills are then smuggled out of hospitals allegedly by staff and sold
to the traders at around $0,50.
They are then resold for between R20 and R30 compared to the around R130
charged by SA pharmacies.
The contraceptives are also smuggled to Botswana and Namibia, according to
Back home, ZNFPC is battling the increased selling of family planning
pills on the streets.
“Most of them (pills) have already expired or they have been rendered
ineffective because of the conditions of storage.
“We are appealing to the public to report those people who are buying and
those who are selling the contraceptive pills to the nearest police, ZNFPC
officials or Health and Child Care ministry officials,” a statement on
council’s website reads.
” . . . the correct distribution points of family planning commodities are
ZNFPC clinics, municipal or city council clinics, rural district councils,
mission clinics, rural health centres, hospitals, community health workers
and known non-governmental organisations operating in your areas,” it