Susan lazily moves beneath the sheets and slightly takes out her left arm in trying to grab the phone that is now vibrating at the edge of the pillow. It is a text message, but she is too dizzy to read the content at this moment. She hazily looks at the onscreen clock and notices it is somewhat over half an hour before her set Monday alarm time. So she coils back under the sheets as to resume her slumber. Just then a knock is heard on the door, followed by a familiar voice, and this time round in a desperate call.
A fairly beautiful, young 2nd year student enters in a hurry. Before she utters any word, Susan is able to read the anxiety on her face. She kicks away the blanket and reaches for a small pouch in the closet, opens a white container and hands 2 tablets and a pregnancy test kit to the sophomore girl.
“This one?” she asks.
The lady nodes in affirmation while handing Sh.150 to Susan before leaving in the same hurry she came in. It doesn’t take long before another knock is heard and another lady comes in. And another, and another; all of them for the same course.
By the end of the day, Susan has made good sales, but still there’s more stock to last for the next day, and the day after. By Wednesday midmorning, she sets off to replenish her stock of Emergency Contraception pills (“Morning-After”), pregnancy test kits, and all-gender condoms waiting for another round of booming sales. The birth control pills enjoy a good market in her campus realm.
Herein is a story of a 4th year student in one of the local universities who reveals her story into a business that by day is gaining secretive popularity. For about three years, Susan has stocked and sold an insurmountable amount of birth control pills, to a consumer market which entirely consists of young campus ladies, majority of whom fall between 17-22 years of age.
In her account, most of her clients are ladies who come shortly after having unprotected sex, seeking to avert any chances of unwanted pregnancy.
“Most of the ladies come to my hostel or call me instead, especially on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, for deliveries of contraceptive pills at a cost of 150/-. There are men who purchase condoms too, but these are fewer when compared to the ladies, whom I have to issue with pregnancy test kits besides the tablets.”
The sad bit is that most of Susan’s buyers are never new to the pills but instead have remained frequent clients who she asserts that she has to advice, and caution against the continued use of the said drugs.
Now, according to medical assertions, one of the causes of breast cancer is exposure to high levels of estrogen hormones. Contraceptive pills, such as e-pills are meant to increase the hormonal concentration of estrogen and progesterone. Therefore it explains why doctors advise of verily limited use; i.e. on emergency cases only (hence the name “emergency” pills). This is unlike other birth control pills that are prescribed in a 28-day pack. Thus one would argue that an emergency pill is 28 times stronger. But again this is what Susan’s clients have made a daily weekday diet.
In not so rare cases, others (new to the drugs) return to her with complaints of unprecedented side-effects such as excessive and unexpected “bleeding”. What is more worrying is the fact that the sales statistics has taken a routine which only exposes the nature of uncontrolled bad behavior taking place through the campus weekends as students try to baby-proof unprotected sexual liaisons. I am no doctor, but my intuition tells me that the more we allow our young ladies to indiscriminately abuse delicate-prescriptions as these, the more we let them plunge their health and our society into jeopardy. It could be another ticking time bomb, slowly building momentum for a huge explosion.