South Africa

Maverick Citizen

Stop Stockouts reveals massive contraceptives shortages 

The Stop Stockouts Project (SSP), an organisation monitoring and reporting essential medicines stockouts, has revealed that Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are experiencing contraceptive shortages. The specific medications are Nur-isterate, Ovral, Triphasil and Depo Provera.

The shortage of contraceptives impedes people’s  sexual and reproductive health rights and SSP is calling on the national Department of Health to review its supply chain management and come up with a comprehensive plan that prioritises contracts with reliable suppliers so as to ensure uninterrupted delivery. 

SSP has been raising this issue with the department since 2018 yet despite having the required information to take action nothing seems to have been done. There now also seem to be stock outs of Implanon in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, in the City of Johannesburg and the Sedibeng District because of the shortage of injectable contraceptives and pills. 

According to SSP consortium member Dr Indira Govender from the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa: “The impact of a lack of access to contraceptives places women at increased risk of unwanted pregnancy, economic stress and compromises their psychological well-being. All of which undermines reproductive and contraceptive health rights…” 

SSP Manager Kompano Klaas also highlighted the shortage of Mifegyne, which is used in safe pregnancy termination facilities. 

The organisation explained that NGO Doctors Without Borders has been supplementing a limited amount of intra-uterine devices and emergency contraceptives in NorthWest. However this is not a sustainable option as it is the duty of the Department of Health to provide these medicines. 

SSP is further calling for a standardised guideline for referral, detailing how staff should handle the reporting of stockouts. This also includes how to advise women who are not able to find their contraceptives of choice at their initial health facility.

  • The Department of Health did not comment at the time of publication. We will add their comment it they decide to do so. MC

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