It is every parent’s wish to have a child. But the child need not be a product of an accident or, worse still, rape.┬á
Children are a blessing and parents need to procreate.
In as much as there is mounting desire to have children, due care ought to be exercised to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
It is in this respect that scientists have conceptualized birth control measures (contraceptives), which, in most cases, have to be legalized by the various governments.
In Botswana’s case, one of the currently popular contraceptives is the morning-after-pill. Its use is in high demand and most women prefer to use it to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
In an interview, Dr H.G. Medhin of the Ministry of Health, discourages women from using the morning-after pill but, instead, encourages them to use the female condom to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
“It is true with some partners, but what is most important is that females are empowered to use their own discretion as to use the female condom as a proper alternative to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies instead of insisting on the use of the male condom or taking the morning-after pill,” said Medhin.
He explained that the brands that have been authorized for sale in Botswana and which are internationally acceptable include oestrogens ÔÇô diethylstilbestrol or ethinyl estradiol (Tetragynon), Progerstin (levonorgestrel) and Norinyl.
With regard to who should use the morning-after pill, Meddhin said it is those women who have had unprotected sexual intercourse, rape victims or women who have been sexually assaulted including for cases where condoms got ruptured during penetrative sex as well as those intentionally avoiding the use of condoms and those who have been confirmed not to be pregnant.
“Any confirmed pregnant lady is not allowed to use the morning-after pill unless in the presence of medical practitioner,” warned Medhin.
However, the government strives to ensure that only legalized brands are sold over the counter although Medhin observes that some pharmacies sell unauthorized drugs under the counter.
“If caught by inspectors, it is an offence and can even lead to the closure of the pharmacy,” said Medhin, adding that medical products are registered in Botswana before being imported or sold in the country and, as such, regular supervision is done to ensure that only legal drugs are sold.
Like most drugs, the morning-after pill has got its own side effects, which are characterized by headache, vomiting, abdominal discomfort and sometimes withdrawal bleeding and delayed menstruation.
To illustrate the popularity of the drugs, a Baisago University College student, Dora Rea, said she uses the pill and feels good about it because at times the condom easily bursts during the act and thereby exposing women to unwanted pregnancies.
She said she was forced to use it because she did not want to have a baby and it proved an easy option after she discovered that the condom had burst.
Rea happens to be among many women who have, of late, resorted to the use of the pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies.