Family planning supplies and contraceptives are sold out or inaccessible as the Zimbabwean government continues to battle COVID-19.
“The lockdown has meant that community health workers like myself who have often had to distribute contraceptives like family planning pills and at times condoms, have had to stop operating and this means disaster in homes,” said Miriam Chandapiwa, a community healthcare worker based in the rural Mwenezi district in southern Zimbabwe.
“Men and women in their homes now can’t step out to purchase contraceptives, be they family planning pills or condoms, and this means a reversal of gains made in controlling population growth in the country and worse still reversal of yet more other gains made in fighting HIV and AIDS,” said Catherine Mukwapati, a Zimbabwean women’s rights defender.
Mukwapati, who is also director of the Youth Dialogue Action Network, a Zimbabwean civil society organization, said “the only alternative in terms of sourcing contraceptives during the lockdown is via the black market, which still many can’t reach because COVID-19 has kept people confined indoors.”
“COVID-19 has presented one of the biggest headaches to people living with HIV who, without access to condoms, have to face more risks with the disease,” said HIV-AIDS activist Mevion Sigauke, a member of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV.