via Doctors speak out against Mudede utterances – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 17, 2015 by Phylyis Mbanje/ Veneranda Langa
The Zimbabwe Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ZSCOG) has spoken out against utterances by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede that women should not use hormonal contraception because they were “harmful”.
The society said it was concerned by the “unfortunate announcement” which contained erroneous conclusions based on “dubious scientific information”.
“It is bound to cause confusion, alarm and despondency among women who are currently using hormonal contraception,” the association said.
ZSOG said family planning prevented unwanted pregnancies, facilitates healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and at the same time lowering maternal deaths.
“The benefits are numerous and include reducing blood loss in women with heavy periods and protects against womb, ovarian and large bowel cancers,”
The Registrar-General has been roundly condemned for urging government to ban women from using hormonal contraceptives.
Making a presentation recently, Mudede said his study had included compilation of documented health hazards that accompanied the use of birth control drugs.
He quoted a research finding that he alleged appeared in the Readers Digest in the April edition which claimed those who had previously taken birth control drugs for three years or more had twice the risk of developing the disease.
“We urge our nations to use the God-given natural family planning methods as compared to the said noxious sponsored drugs,” he said.
The ZSOG said like any medication, hormonal contraception has side effects, but women were clearly counselled about these before they opted to use them.
“However, there is no doubt that the benefits of contraception greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Mudede should not use experiences of a few women as a substitute for robust scientific data to mislead the public,” ZSCOG said.
The maternal experts were also displeased by the option offered by Mudede of using the natural means like withdrawal.
“It will lead to a significant increase in the number of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and possibly maternal deaths,” ZSOG explained.
“As Zimbabwe Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, we encourage all the women on hormonal contraception to continue using them as prescribed by their doctors.”
Meanwhile, the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has called for public discussion on Mudede’s statements.
Mudede and a researcher, Richard Hondo, recently appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Gender and Community Development where they advocated for a ban on modern contraceptives saying they were causing births of deformed children and women to be obese, among a myriad other health problems like glaucoma and cancers.
In a letter addressed to Health and Child Care ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji, CWGH executive director Itai Rusike said the reports have not only caused confusion, but also fear and anxiety among both women and men.
“Given the commitments of the Maputo Plan of Action (CARMMA), the CWGH is proposing a public discussion where key stakeholders in the health sector including the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as well as the RG’s Office would deliberate, find a common ground and guide the nation of the best family planning methods available,” he said.
CWGH said it was in the interest of the nation not only to explore more family planning methods, but to inform Zimbabweans of the safe family planning methods to prevent the spread of the disease and other ailments.