Kwazulu Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo has expressed concern over the increase demand for emergency morning-after pills during this festive season.
Dhlomo said the demand is a clear indication that people are not using dual protection in order to avoid unplanned or unwanted pregnancies, as well as sexually-transmitted infections.
“The reported increase in the demand for morning-after pills is more of a worry because we as the Department of Health offer condoms to the public free of charge,” said Dhlomo.
“The morning-after pill may prevent pregnancy (although it is not 100% safe), but it does not prevent pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections including HIV.
“We wish to remind the public that the best way for a person to keep themselves free from the risk of having an unwanted pregnancy or contracting a sexually-transmitted infection is by either abstaining from sex or using dual protection, which is a combination of condoms and female contraceptive methods at all times.
“Morning-after pills are for emergencies, and may not always be 100% effective. They also come with the added stress of finding and taking them on time, whereas you may find that because of the holidays, the chemist may be closed,” added Dhlomo.
The MEC also reminded the public about the dangers of alcohol as a contributor to poor judgement.
“There are many things that alcohol is able to preserve, but dignity is not one of them. When you are under the influence of alcohol, you have less inhibitions, and may end up doing things in the heat of the moment that you may regret tomorrow. So, we are urging our compatriots, especially young people, not to behave recklessly just because we are in the festive season.
“They must remember that this is just a time like any other. You must not make poor decisions that will impact negatively on the rest of your life, just because it’s the festive season. Life must still continue. So, planning and investing in a better future with a long and healthy life, must start today,” concluded Dhlomo.