The ongoing stockouts of contraceptives grossly violate individuals’ and couples’ reproductive rights, but alternative measures have not been put in place. If the issues of access to contraceptives are not dealt with, the country will face a baby boom and a rise in HIV infections at the end of the pandemic.
Thuthukile Mbatha is a researcher with Section27 and Annah Maluleke is a field community researcher in Limpopo.
Since 2017, after having her last child, 38-year-old Nkhensani (not her real name), a mother of three, has been using injectable contraception in the form of Depo-Provera which she received from the Mukhoni Clinic in Collins Chabane district in Limpopo. She decided to take contraceptives after realising that she and her partner could not afford to raise more children. But from the beginning of lockdown in 2020, she says she could not access her contraceptive of choice because of stockouts at the clinic.
“Other clinics in Mopani and Malamulele have also admitted to experiencing stockouts of Depo-Provera,” says Limpopo Aids Council chairperson, Solanga Milambo.
Everyone has a reproductive right to decide if and when they want to have children. There are various reasons women might decide to delay having a child, including…