BULAWAYO has been hit by a shortage of Marvelon, a birth control pill which experts say had less side effects compared to other methods of contraception.
In a survey conducted by Chronicle in Bulawayo yesterday, most pharmacies said they ran out of Marvelon stocks about two weeks ago.
A local pharmacist said they no longer had it in stock. A source within the ZNFPC said existing stock of Marvelon birth control pills expire in August this year and chances of getting new stock were slim.
“The pill was introduced on temporary basis to meet demand and now women will have to use other control pills available.”
ZNFPC introduced Marvelon in 2015 to complement the Control Pill following donors’ failure to procure the latter at the end of 2014. Marvelon is a monophasic pill and each of the 21 tablets has the same dose of hormones in it.
When it was launched in 2015 health officials said Marvelon was one of the most reliable methods of contraception on correct usage.
Government has strengthened its surveillance on all entry points into the country after the Democratic Republic of Congo reported new cases of Ebola recently.
Principal director responsible for preventive services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Gibson Mhlanga said although the risk of getting Ebola in Zimbabwe was low, it was important to remain on high alert.
“We are aware of the cases in DRC and we have since strengthened our port health activities at all entry points, that is the airport and boarder points,” he said. “People are being screened as they come in.”
Dr Mhlanga said they were also imparting health education to travellers on symptoms of Ebola, so that anyone suspected of having the disease was quickly assisted.
He said they had also sent communication to all provincial medical directorates and health staff to ensure that everyone was on high alert.
THE Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa has said his ministry is considering the suitability of United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) board chairman Mr Francis Chitehwe to continue on his post following $50 000 fraud allegations that saw him resigning from ZB Life.
Mr Chitehwe recently resigned as ZB Life Assurance Limited sales manager after the financial institution instituted an investigation following a report made to the police that he had defrauded a former Bulawayo Polytechnic employee of nearly $50 000 in an insurance scam.
In an interview, Dr Parirenyatwa said he had written to Mr Chitehwe demanding an explanation on the allegations levelled against him before a position is taken on his UBH board chairmanship.
Last week, ZB Financial Holdings’ head of corporate services Mr Shadowsight Chiganze told The Chronicle that Mr Chitehwe had resigned from his position. This was after the Chronicle had exposed the alleged scam.
Ms Winnie Mapuranga, a former accountant at the Bulawayo Polytechnic made a report to the police three weeks ago after Mr Chitehwe allegedly made her pay him $46 400 over a period of three years on a promise that he would facilitate a $1 million business loan from two life assurance policies with the company.
THE Medical Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has directed CAPS Pharmaceuticals to recall from the market 170 000 units of the popular 4Cs syrup used to treat children with flu and cold, due to suspected contamination.
The syrup, released into the market in six batches of 28 000 units apiece, is presumed to have contamination in the form of black materials concentrated mainly inside the screw cap.
Three batches were recalled at the beginning of last week, but towards the end of the week, the number of recalled batches had risen to six.
This is probably the largest product recall in Zimbabwe in recent memory.
Around 2006, one of the country’s largest producers of cooking oil reportedly recalled a huge consignment that had been contaminated during the production process.
Sources privy to the development told the Financial Gazette that MCAZ received a complaint from a local pharmacy and tracked the distributor who supplied the pharmacy with the product. They picked samples from the distributor and are currently carrying out tests, the results of which will be notified to CAPS Pharmaceuticals.
“MCAZ then asked us to carry out our own internal investigations to establish what happened and that process is still on going,” said CAPS Pharmaceuticals sales and marketing manager, Robson Mafongoya, in an interview with the Financial Gazette this week.
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care recruited and deployed more than 500 nurses last month with 400 more expected to be employed by the end of November, as Government moves to alleviate the shortage of nurses in the country.
The move also aims to create employment for qualified nurses who are out of work. Treasury gave the Ministry of Health and Child Care the green light to employ 2 250 nurses and doctors starting last month.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa yesterday said the Health Service Board has started recruitment.
Dr Parirenyatwa said more than 4 200 nurses are unemployed while the health ministry requires 8 000 more nurses to meet growing demand for health services.
He added that 14 982 nurses are employed in the country with 3 452 midwives and 273 theatre nurses. Government froze recruitment of nurses in 2011 to contain a ballooning wage bill, a situation that led to critical shortages of staff in hospitals mainly in rural areas.
About 95 000 children in Zimbabwe fall pregnant due to child marriages each year, new data has revealed. Statistics show that approximately 500 000 teenagers fall pregnant every year, with 19 percent of the pregnancies in this group a result of child marriages.
Adolescent pregnancy remains a major challenge and contributor to maternal and child mortality and the vicious circle of ill-health and poverty in Zimbabwe.
About 24 percent of the country’s population is in the 15 to 19 years age group. The same report says 48 percent of adolescents have confirmed that the pregnancies were unplanned, while 45 percent said they wanted a child.
It said Mashonaland Central Province has the highest prevalence rate of adolescents falling pregnant with 28,1 percent, followed by Manicaland Province with 25,4 percent. “On position three is Matabeleland North with 23,6 percent, followed by Matabeleland South with 22 percent and then Mashonaland East stands at 18,5 percent,” reads the report.
Mashonaland West has 16,3 percent, while Bulawayo has the third least prevalence at 11,1 percent followed by Masvingo at 8,3 percent. Harare has the least prevalence at 6,8 percent.” The UNFPA says each adolescent pregnancy poses risks of maternal and child morbidity and mortality. The health risks include maternal deaths, pregnancy complications such as obstetric fistula, uterine rapture and unsafe abortions.
A GWERU Pharmacy has been forced to shut down by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) after the owners were allegedly found selling sex-enhancing drugs over the counter without doctors’ prescription.
About three years ago the MCAZ banned over-the-counter selling of sex-enhancing drugs on the basis of their side effects.
MCAZ — which has the mandate to protect public health by ensuring that medicines and medical devices on the market are safe — had earlier on approved the sale of the drugs without going through the registration process. Springs Pharmacy – which was operating along Seventh Street – in Gweru was recently forced to shut down for selling sex-enhancing drugs such as Blue Diamond.
The owner of the Pharmacy Mr Tafirenyika Gwenzi confirmed that he had been forced to shut down his pharmacy. He however declined to give reasons.
THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the use of Depo-provera, the most common contraceptive in Matabeleland region, may increase women’s risk of contracting HIV by up to 50 percent.
WHO in its official website says for the past 25 years, there has been mixed evidence as to whether use of hormonal contraceptive methods is associated with a woman’s risk of acquiring HIV. Depo-provera, Jadelle, birth control pills and implants are included in the family of hormonal contraceptives.
However, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) service delivery coordinator Ms Janet Godzi said though the risk has not been proven, combating HIV required the use of multiple strategies.
She said Depo-provera may be perceived as leading to HIV contraception because people who use it often engage in unprotected sex, knowing they will not fall pregnant.
“So far no study has proven that indeed using depo- provera increases the risk of contracting HIV but we have heard of cases where women engage in unprotected sex simply because they are on depo-provera,” said Ms Godzi.
The National Aids Council (NAC) has procured a condom dispenser that will be placed at Midlands State University (MSU) to increase accessibility of condoms by students, amid a sharp increase in the uptake of the barrier device.
In interview on the sidelines of a health expo, NAC Gweru district Aids coordinator Mr Murari Hwingwiri told The Herald: “What we have realised is that some of the students are not comfortable with getting condoms from clinics or buying them from shops, so this self-service facility will also increase the condom uptake among those that are sexually active.”
A snap survey by The Herald in Senga and Nehosho high-density suburbs of Gweru, where most of the MSU students reside, showed that all shops, beerhalls, bottle stores, tuckshops and kiosks were out of condoms. Mr Hwingwiri said the scarcity of condoms in Senga and Nehosho high-density suburbs showed that students were practising safe sex, which in turn reduces the rate of new incidences.
Cancer continues to be a threat with over 400 cases recorded annually since 2009, a trend that is worrying and needs urgent attention, a Cabinet minister has said. Officially opening Oncocare Cancer Treatment Centre in Harare on Thursday, Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa said cancer cases had been on the increase since 2009.
“Zimbabwe cancer registry data tracks growth in the number of recorded cancer cases. Since 2009, cancer cases have doubled from 3 519 to 7 018 in 2014,” he said. “During this period, no less than 400 cancer cases have been recorded each year; the trend is worrying and needs urgent response.”
Oncocare was established as a response to the new scourge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which were escalating at a rapid rate. Various sub-specialties offered at the top-of-the-range centre include radiation treatment (2D, 3D, IMRT) and medical oncology (chemotherapy).
Dr Parirenyatwa said Oncocare was a relevant development in curbing the disease as anyone is able to access the services.
A picture of ailing music star Cde Chinx Chingaira is doing the rounds on social media following reports that the “Hondo Yeminda” singer had passed on.
Cde Chinx whose real name is Dickson Chingaira was taken ill to West End Hospital last week after his health deteriorated due to blood cancer. He has been rumoured dead twice before and the latest hoax has forced his family to release his frail picture while in hospital.
One of the artiste’s wives, Zodwa Chingaira told our sister paper, The Herald that her husband’s condition was improving by the day.
“Cde Chinx is still in hospital at West End. I cannot say much about the illness as I’m still to get enough information pertaining to that. What I can say is his health is improving by day and we hope he will be fine and out soon,” she said.
Before he was admitted, Cde Chinx had tried to seek help from prophets, apostolic faith churches and also traditional healers but to no avail. Early this year, he released an album featuring Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Civic Education despite his ill-health.
Cde Chinx is married to two wives with 10 children between them.
MALARIA related deaths increased from 65 to 116 countrywide in the first two months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
Matabeleland North provincial medical director Dr Nyasha Masuka said the 116 malaria deaths were recorded in January and February this year.
“In 2015 during the same year, 117 deaths were reported and they dropped in 2016 to 65. This year we recorded 116 deaths and 71 913 malaria cases.
“The 2016/2017 rainy season provided breeding ground for mosquitoes thereby increasing the risk of malaria. There is a need for weekly monitoring of disease trends and follow up on susceptible areas,” said Dr Masuka.
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