A LACK of family planning at various health facilities in the Namibian Capital is currently under scrutiny by various women who feel their rights to health care are not prioritized by government.
Amongst these, the Katutura Clinic at Black Chain, the University of Science and Technology Health Clinic and the Khomasdal Clinic do not have any contraceptives.
Family planning methods were previously available free of charge at all public health facilities countrywide. Contraceptives are safe to use for relevant age groups including adolescents and older women.
Windhoek resident Ndamononghenda Ludwig, 35, said that the unavailability of family planning, with the exception of male condoms is a personal problem for her as she now has to worry about getting pregnant.
A mother of three, she says she and her husband have been relying on family planning for over five years now.
“This is honestly the only time that we experience such a shortage at health facilities. The government is failing us. They need to prioritize on important issues such as these. Look at the prevalent cases of teenage pregnancy in the country. These are things that can easily be avoided. Sexual relations are an inevitable part of life and we cannot turn a blind eye pretending that our children are not engaging in sex. What we need to do is ensure that health care is adequately catered for,” Ludwig said.
Khomasdal Clinic has for weeks been without family planning until two weeks ago when it received the Medroxyprojestron family planning injections and implants.
“We currently have nothing in stock. No pills, no injection. This is a national problem at the moment. We were using stock from last year and it finished in February this year. We usually get stock from government and private health facilities including pharmacies. They also do not have stock right now except male condoms,” a NUST staff member told this publication.
She added that students are at risk of getting pregnant, cautioning girls to take care of themselves on campus especially now that it is winter season, a time people actively engage in intimacy.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services public relations officer, Manga Libita has not responded to queries sent to her.
The Rundu Intermediate Hospital, the biggest hospital in the two Kavango Regions has also run out of Depo Provera, a common contraceptive birth control injection.
The two regions have the highest recorded teenage pregnancy rate in the country.
The World Health Organisation reports that the promotion of family planning is essential to securing the wellbeing and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, need for contraception in Namibia remains high among women in Namibia, with 19 percent of girls between the ages of 15-19 who becomes pregnant.
Last year, some regions reported proportions of more than 36 percent of teenage pregnancies, the UNPF reported.
According to the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association, the most widely used contraceptives in Namibia are the injections; Nur-Isterate and Depo Provera, pills offered in three types of Combined Oral Contraceptive, condoms, emergency oral contraceptive pill also known as the ‘morning after pill’ and sterilization.