Kenya battles unsafe Chinese contraceptive pill a decade after ban

Toberu Orimolade Thu 27-Oct-22 11:10:54

When Susan Wamaitha started feeling sick a year ago, she thought it was the side effects of a contraceptive pill she had started taking a few months earlier - but it turned out that she was eight weeks pregnant.

The 32 year old is now a mother of three children. Unbeknown to her, the pill that she began using in June 2021 was banned in Kenya.

Its street name in Kenya is "Sofia" but it is manufactured in China and all the details about the product on the packaging are only written in Chinese.

A translation of the first line says it contains "Levonorgestrel Fast Estradiol Tablets". The pill is a "long-acting oral contraceptive", according to the second line. Then there is information about the manufacturer on the third: "Zizhu Pharmaceutical Co Ltd".

The sale of the pill was prohibited by Kenya's authorities 10 years ago because of high levels of levonorgestrel - more than 40 times the recommended levels.

Levonorgestrel is a hormonal medication used in a number of birth control methods.

The health ministry did not share the full lab results about its findings, but said children conceived after the pill failed were found to have developed early puberty.

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