HARARE — The Ministry of Health and Child Care, Medical Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, City of Harare municipality and many other authorities concerned with the welfare of people are finding it hard to eradicate the selling of banned drugs on the streets.
A survey by NewsDay on the streets of Harare showed that most women are using banned skin lightening creams like Movet, Diprizona, Epiderm and 7 Miracles which come with serious side effects that impact negatively on their health.
Beauty therapist Shamiso Mashakada said it was sad to note that despite evident side effects, most women are obsessed with enhancing their beauty to the extent that they ignore the ban and glaring warnings against the use of the drugs and creams.
“One of my clients was born dark, but suddenly became pale and light in complexion after using the banned 7 Miracles cream which she bought from the streets. At first it was well, but two weeks down the line after applying the chemical, Rose’s face swelled and developed septic blisters that oozed nauseating pus.
“Life became horrible for her, but thanks to one of the experienced local surgeons, she was successfully treated. However, she has permanent black spots on her face that she will live with for the rest of her life and the beauty she passionately sought for is completely gone,” Mashakada said.
Mashakada added that other women were also falling prey to chemicals believed to elongate and soothe their hair.
“At one time, a dreadlocked friend of mine was arrested when she was found in possession of marijuana on the pretext that it would grow her dreadlocks when applied to the hair,” Mashakada said.
According to the British-run National Health Survey (NHS) — a survey carried out by the British Skin Foundation — 16% of dermatologists believe lightening creams are “completely unsafe” and 80% feel they are only safe when prescribed by a dermatologist.
“Unfortunately, many skin-lightening creams contain illegal compounds that can damage your health,” says Indy Rihal of the British Skin Foundation. “The most common compounds are high-dose steroids.”
The report goes on to say that some creams also contain hydroquinone, a bleaching agent that is banned from use in cosmetics (but can be prescribed by doctors for medical reasons).
Of concern these days is the trend where women are using hip enlargement gels and Appetito tablets to grow their bums.
“These chemicals and drugs can be very dangerous. One hooker is now disabled and has disproportionate hips. One side is bigger than the other and she walks as if she is going to one side like a crab,” Mashakada said.
An increasing number of men in Zimbabwe are resorting to the use of banned male sexual enhancement drugs in order to “please their partners during sexual intercourse”.
Banned drugs that men illegally buy from the streets in the hope of increasing their sexual performance include Super Powerful Man, Niagra, Wild Horse, M-Energex, Rock Hard Weekend, 21st Century Herbs for Forty Plus and Quarter Final.
Director of MCAZ Gugulethu Mahlangu told NewsDay that her organisation had ordered the removal of these drugs which were sold in some retail outlets on the grounds that they had information purporting that they added some nutritional value to enhance libido, but were harmful to health.
Mahlangu said MCAZ approves the use of registered prescription sexual performance enhancement agents such as sildenafil found in Viagra, Canova, Seregra and tadafilin Cialis for patients suffering from erectile dysfunction(ED).
Herbalists from Mupedzanhamo Market in Mbare said they made brisk business selling sexual enhancement herbs to men from all walks of life.
“Every man wants to be regarded as a sexual expert. We sell herbs to everyone including your pastors, meaning every man wants to be called a machoman. No wonder most of these church leaders are in the courts facing rape charges,” said Sekuru Chasura, an Mbare herbalist.
The Health ministry has expressed concern on the increase of the number of people who are taking banned dugs and substances like cocaine and marijuana in the midst of reports that these drugs find their way into the country through our porous borders. – News Day