Our presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development on July 7 2015 triggered a myriad of comments. We have received an overwhelming number of women thanking us for highlighting their plight, some expressing such emotions as “vaMudede nava Hondo matibviranepi”. To them, we are thankful, because they have made our efforts worthwhile.
BY TOBAIWA T MUDEDE/RICHARD HONDO
However, we have had negative critics as well, in both written and oral forms. To these, we say we respect you for thinking differently, but we encourage you to read our book and argue against areas of our research therein.
To those who thought differently, NewsDay scribes Phyllis Mbanje and Veneralanda Langa being prominent in this group, we say it would have been more helpful if they had offered better methods than we are advocating, rather than just vent their perpetual displeasure with the authors or advocate the continued use of clearly harmful drugs. While we are at this, let us clear one thing here.
When we appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to present our evidence on how the reproductive health of women was being compromised by Western supplied birth control drugs on July 7 2015, we stated under oath, that Mudede was appearing before the Committee as a concerned citizen, not as Registrar-General. He was simply exercising his rights to freedom of speech as guaranteed by the Constitution like any other citizen.
If one checks with our articles on this matter, one will find this to be the case. We have instead been calling for the banning of those drugs whose side-effects we have quantified. We presented our findings to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development under oath, indicating our sincerity and commitment. If our critics are sincere in their attacks we dare them to take the same oath we took and present their case to the same committee. Now let us look at the glaring misinformation our critics have presented.
Zimbabwe society OF OBs & Gyno Mbanje and Langa in the NewsDay issue of 17 July 2015 reported that the above had “spoken out against the utterances by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede that women should not use hormonal contraceptives because they are “Harmful”. Mudede appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development with his co-Author Richard Hondo.
Clearly the scribes angled at what sold their newspaper, rather than at facts. Next, they presented the Society of OBs and Gyno without a face. If their use of the society was genuine, they would have quoted a spokesperson of the Society. What reason is there for this “phantom” spokesperson to remain nameless? Why would the society wish to remain “anonymous” in a matter that affects a pool of their patients?
Because of the central position OBs and Gyno occupy in women’s reproductive health, we would love to interact with these key players. For the information of all, our quarrel is not with medical practitioners. If anything we want them to be on our side and help their patients (the contraceptive users). Medical practitioners are not responsible for manufacturing these drugs.
They just administer them, for the simple reason that they are the only ones available on the market. Our quarrel is with manufacturers and distributors of these drugs. We do not think doctors enjoy seeing their patients with afflictions that can be avoided if there were no vested interests involved in this saga.
Impact of generation gaps on national security and the economy
Imposed choices of birth control drugs will create skewed population pyramids, characterised by generation gaps in skills and manpower continuity in the security organs of developing countries. These gaps will result in countries having to import skilled migrants to fill them, migrants who are likely to have differing, even hostile cultural and ideological values.
This is why we are saying imposed birth control will create opportunities for this class, not for our own people. These gaps will also mean that there will be no continuous feeds of manpower to security organs of countries, thereby compromising national security and stability, beside stifling economic advancement.
Our opposition to depopulation will not change. We are for a naturally balanced population growth. Please read our book Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and Population Control Drugs in developing countries.
The economy will not grow with a mere 13 million people. Population pressure is what stimulates economic growth. Please note that the biggest economies of the world have the biggest populations too.
Evading the issue
All our critics have been experts at one thing, evading or skirting the real issues, these being:
lSome of the drugs we have recommended for banning, Norplant, Depo-Provera were banned in their country of manufacture following litigation by aggrieved users against the manufacturers, in which millions were paid out in damages. But these drugs are still being marketed in developing countries, Zimbabwe included. Our question is why are proscribed drugs allowed to circulate in the country? Nobody, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) as the responsible authority included, has dared to proffer an answer to this question.
lWe have put on the table Henry Kissinger’s damning National Security Memorandum 200 (NSSM200) classified document, which details the need to control population growths in developing countries. All our critics have steered clear of this document. They have remained mum. There is a clear link between this policy document and the activities of birth control drug manufacturers. Those of our critics who attempted to explain the problem away like Population Services International (PSI) did, could only say “there is no agenda to depopulate developing countries via birth control drugs. All drugs are rigorously tested for safety before release to consumer countries”. The problem is that he did not say whose standards the tests are done against. Obviously, the tests, if they are done at all, are not done to address the concerns of users in the market countries but to meet the Manufacturer’s domestic legal requirements, otherwise the complaints we are talking about would not arise. He was reluctant to comment on Kissinger’s demining NSSM200 document.
lZNFPC dismisses natural methods as ineffective. For an organisation that has not bothered to carry out feasibility studies, this stance is preposterous and lacks merit.
This attitude only exposes the Council’s intransigence and unwillingness to be part of any trials on natural alternatives. It has instead taken upon itself to decide what is good for women without due diligence. If the council genuinely believes that natural methods will not have takers if given equal resources and publicity, we challenge them to put this to the test and see what happens.
What we are fighting for is for users, the women, to have the final say on a matter that exclusively concerns them. Why decide for them? The constitution says women are entities on their own, with the same rights as men to make class decisions. By its stance on birth control drugs, the Family Planning Council is breaching this right, insisting that women are still regarded as minors at law.
Let the ZNFPC fight this battle with scientific evidence, and refrain from hiding behind officialdom to frighten critics. Let them explain why banned drugs like Norplant are still being used in Zimbabwe. Let them explain why women on Western birth control drugs are never advised to get tested for glaucoma regularly in view of the findings of the University of California. Then we can listen. Their current answer of substituting one drug for another when users complain does not solve the problem. The reason is simple. Each and every one of these drugs contains the same anti-ovulation agent, Progestin, which, as we have said before, prevents the body from naturally releasing oestrogen, the hormone that protects eyes from glaucoma as documented evidence show.
The investment in education that the country’s leadership has made has resulted in the creation of a Zimbabwean with an enquiring, analytical mind, able to sense danger and/or mischief. It is now very difficult for those in positions of influence to just bulldoze or intimidate them into accepting prescriptive solutions. In any case, it is not such a mountain to appreciate the dangers inherent in birth control drugs. Take for instance three out of many common side-effects that these drugs have:
Loss of libido- this effect complements the anti-ovulation action of the drugs. Loss of libido means absence of appetite for sex. This is equal to forced abstinence. Drug rinenge ratouraya bonde revaridzi! Apart from causing strain between couples, the net effect is depopulation, the exact plan of Henry Kissinger’s NSSM200 document.
Glaucoma — after faithfully following the master plan, i.e. taking the birth control drugs, all through her reproductive life, a woman is rewarded with blindness for the rest of her life, instead of enjoying her post menopause grandeur. She had been promised such advantages as full education and full careers. She was never told that she might have to pay for these opportunities with blindness once the need to take the drug lapses! Our aim is to help women access all the opportunities offered by life at no cost to their reproductive health. The natural methods we are advocating will ensure this happens.
Cancer — This has now taken over as the biggest killer in this country.
One lady from a women’s organisation accused Mudede of promoting “n’anga” solutions in this day and age. What a pity this is.
Because of years of indoctrination by colonialist propaganda apparatus, this lady has failed to see that the methods we are advocating are in fact based on modern science. There is nothing “n’angalike” in the menstrual cycle method, or use of safe, reputable brands of condom, or withdrawal method. This lady is so conditioned mentally that she sees everything “African” as primitive. This is how effective the colonialist long term planning has been in developing countries. Unfortunately we have no cure for this indoctrination in our alternative methods. Therefore, the only answer is to educate the populace, this we are doing within our constitutional rights as private citizens.
Our research has revealed that women who are on these harmful contraceptives do not enjoy doing so. Nobody enjoys taking or using artificial substances that interfere with normal hormonal systems. Please bear with them because they are vulnerable.
In addition, no woman enjoys a menstruation period that stretches for days beyond the normal period.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development advised us to have a dialogue with Ministry of Health officials on this debate. We hope this will materialise soon.
“Let us have a round table debate with as many stakeholders as possible”.