In Zambia, health officials say the injectable contraceptive Depo Provera is safe to use, following allegations earlier this year that it was contaminated with the AIDS virus, HIV. In January, the Ministry of Health pulled the contraceptive from the market for testing.
Reporter Sanday Kabange is following the story. From Lusaka, he spoke to Joe De Capua of VOA’s English to Africa Service about why Depo Provera was withdrawn.
“The allegations went around the country that Depo Provera was laced with HIV. This prompted the Zambian government…to withdraw (it) and to stop administering Depo Provera,” he says.
Kabange says it’s unclear how the rumors about the contraceptive started. “We have yet to hear from…the Ministry of Health to explain it…who these people or which institutions were making allegations that Depo Provera had HIV,” he says.
He says the government issued a statement saying, “Following extensive and thorough consultation and scientific investigation, which involved both the private and public sector, local and internationally, it has now been established that Depo Provera does not have HIV in it.”
Kabange says many women in Zambia prefer an injection four times a year, rather than a daily pill. He says it’s estimated over 50 million women in over 90 countries use Depo Provera has a contraceptive.