SOME Lusaka residents have taken to task medicines’ regulatory bodies in the country for failure to detect the entry of the Chinese contraceptive pill.
Speaking in separate interviews, James Chirwa, a resident of Kabulonga, said his wife has been on the pill for eight years without knowing that the pill is unsafe and illegally in the country.
“There is considerable concern regarding this pill. My worry is the absence of the regulatory authorities. Where have they been? From the look of things, this pill has been on the market for over 10 years. I wonder where the authorities, Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) and Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ), have been,” Mr Chirwa said.
He has appealed to Government to quickly investigate the legality of the contraceptive pill, which has become common on the Zambian market.
Mr Chirwa said the Chinese contraceptives are on sale in many Chinese clinics countrywide.
“It is unfortunate that most of those who sell them and those who use them do not seem to have much information on these pills because they are packaged in Chinese. The name and instructions on how to use them are all in Chinese. This is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly by the authorities,” Mr Chirwa said.
Another resident of Lusaka’s Chilenje, Juba Nyangu, says Government should take to task the regulatory authorities for allowing Chinese medicines that are exclusively in a foreign language to be sold in Zambia.
“We do not know whether they have negative side-effects because we don’t know what chemicals they contain. Sometimes those chemicals have long-term effects, so we cannot tell what effects they will have on users in the long run,” he said.
Mr Nyangu said his wife has been on the pill for five years and has had on-and-off side-effects in terms of prolonged menstruation and sometimes ceased menstruation. But last week, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama advised Zambian women taking the pill to stop immediately. Dr Malama warned that in the event of side-effects, it would be a challenge for local doctors to handle cases.
Some women said the pill has increased their libido, a welcome side-effect for many women. “I think it is a good pill for me. It has benefitted me immensely,” Sara Lubasi of Lusaka’s Kanyama said. “The only side-effects I experienced are the good ones. My libido is so high that from the time I started taking it, I sometimes beg my husband to sneak out from work and come back home,” Ms Lubasi said.
Another woman, Jessy Zimba, of Lusaka’s Jack Kawinga area, said the pill has increased her libido, too. “From the time I started taking the pill, I seem to enjoy my conjugal rights the more. I think it is a good one for me,” Ms Zimba said.