By Fungai Lupande
Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU)’s clinic has recorded an increase in cases of sexually transmitted diseases at a time when the distribution of condoms is still prohibited at the institution because of its Christian background, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) has said.
Speaking at the first quarter meeting on sexual reproductive health in Bindura, ZNFPC provincial marketing and communications officer Mr Percival Kushure said they were engaging ZEGU over the issue together with the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
“Saywhat, a private voluntary organisation that deals with sexual reproductive health rights for tertiary education students, was tasked to draft a Memorandum of Understanding with ZEGU so that the university can freely implement sexual reproductive health services, including condom distribution,” said Mr Kushure.
“The Memorandum of Understanding is the first step and we will follow up to see if the Vice-Chancellor of the university signed the document. However, we are happy that they have allowed education on condom use, which is a good start.
“According to statistics, there is a rise in STI cases at the institution’s clinic. We are referring students to other clinics to access condoms as advocacy work is going on. The provincial medical director is aware of the issue, but the stance of the university is church related. We will meet with the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central, Senator Monica Mavhunga, so that she can provide guidance.”
Mr Kushure said there was an increase in the uptake of the emergency contraceptive, morning after pill, in the province when tertiary institutions open and cases of “semester marriages”.
“A survey at pharmacies revealed that there is a high intake of morning after pill which is an emergency contraceptive during semesters. The male counterparts are the ones who go and buy the pill,” said Mr Kushure.
“The increase in the uptake of the emergency contraceptive is worrying because it shows that these students are not having protected sex. We have realised that the students also engage in ‘semester marriages’, whereby they look for accommodation and stay as husband and wife for the semester.
“We commend Bindura University of Science Education for encouraging parents to keep an eye on their children.” The Herald