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Injectable contraceptives shortage in Limpopo is ‘not a crisis’

While injectable contraceptives are in short supply at Limpopo’s public health facilities emerges, the Department of Health (DoH) maintains there is no crisis and patients need to simply opt for other methods of family planning.

Several clinics in Tzaneen such as Nkowankowa, Mariveni and Dan clinics, are the facilities to most recently have reported that they are out of injectable contraceptives, while Lephepane clinic has been experiencing the shortage since early February this year.

According to a staff member at Lephepane clinic, patients are not fond of other methods of contraceptive.

“I am afraid we have to embrace a high number of unplanned pregnancies because patients are not open to other family planning methods. They go home as soon as they are told that there is no injection,” said the staff member.

Out of stock

“We have been out of stock with nustrate for eight months now, with no word from the department as to what is going on. We have been turning away patients without a proper explanation. Most of them are still on their teens and it seems we are going to have lots of school dropouts soon, as it evident they are not using other contraceptives,” she said.

However, the provincial Department of Health spokesperson, Neil Shikwambane says the suppliers are responsible for the shortage of injectable contraption at health facilities. And he again said patients should use other types of contraceptives.

“We are experiencing problems with the suppliers and we know most people prefer the injection. But we have a host of family planning methods to go for. We have the oral family planning method for instance. There is always an alternative. When people go to a clinic and don’t find injections they walk out and say there is no family planning. But we do have the pill as another option,” Shikwambane said.

“We are advising community members to utilise alternative medicines because sometimes there is a shortage of what they prefer and which is beyond our control,” said Shikwambane.

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.

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