More using Stametta herbal drink as PEP

by vusumuzi dube | Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 | 141060 views

MISINFORMATION is likely to see the rate of HIV infections shooting up as some Zimbabweans are having unprotected sex in the belief that if they drink Stametta, a herbal drink, immediately afterwards, they will not get HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, Sunday News has established.
The herbal drink, which is readily available at shops and pharmacies across the country, is reportedly selling like hot cakes and in some cases runs out minutes after making it to shop shelves.

Sunday News can also reveal that women in Zimbabwe are also using Stametta to terminate pregnancies.
Stametta is mostly used as a complementary medicine and is widely believed to help in boosting sexual performance, helping with menopause, cramps, lowering blood sugar, acne, stomach ailments and wound healing. Stametta has no known legitimate medical use and is not approved by the drug regulatory agencies in most countries.

It is manufactured by Bodicare, a South African company, which markets the formula as a “body healing liquid” and a “superior health formula”.

It is a complementary medicine, meaning it is an alternative medicine that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine but it is not based on evidence gathered using scientific methods. Complementary medicine is alternative medicine used together with conventional medical treatment in a belief, not proven by using scientific methods, that it complements the treatment. It lacks scientific validation and its effectiveness is unproved.

Sunday News has it on good authority that misinformed Zimbabweans are now recklessly having unprotected sex because they believe Stametta will come to their rescue as a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications soon after exposure to HIV to try to reduce the chance of becoming HIV positive. These medications keep HIV from making copies of itself and spreading through the body. Stametta liquid is said to boost the immune system, by blood and cell cleansing — a declaration that has led people to believe that it can prevent HIV infection by “cleaning” the blood, washing out the virus before it takes root.

Most people interviewed by Sunday News were convinced that the “body healing liquid” could help prevent HIV. Some even confessed to using Stametta after they had had unprotected sex.

Stametta is also popular with women who use it as a morning after pill as they believe that it prevents unwanted pregnancies.

However, instructions on the use of Stametta state that it is “not to be taken by pregnant women or children under the age of 14 years’’.

Contacted for comment, Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) spokesperson Mr Richard Rukwata said it was unfortunate that while Government was desperately trying to reduce HIV/Aids prevalence, there were some people who were countering this move by peddling misleading information.

He said in the first place it was illegal for the herbal drink to be openly available at stores and pharmacies in the country.

“As an authority we will never approve anything like that; it is criminal and all things being equal the people who are distributing it should be arrested. We really cannot have a situation where while we are fighting to minimise our prevalence rate, we have someone literally encouraging people to engage in unprotected sex with the misplaced excuse that if they drink this herbal drink they might reduce their chances of contracting this virus.

“If there are people out there who honestly believe this, I should immediately warn them that they are doing the exact opposite of what they aim to do and further they must realise that they are exposing themselves to even more danger,” Mr Rukwata said.

He said the problem with most herbal medicines was that they did not go through any medical tests but were just assumed to be safe, which he said in some cases was not true.

“To just show you that this drink is far from what it is purported to be, you find it is claimed to be a cure for a number of things; stomach pain, is a PEP and abortion inducer. You then just get to ask yourself whether this is really possible.

“In actual fact, I believe people are instead exposing themselves to side effects, an example being that in the instance that when someone is saying such drinks aid abortion, this can even have dangerous consequences that can even be death,” Mr Rukwata said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Paul Chimedza also lamented this public perception on the herbal drink, noting that this was a phenomenon that had to be addressed as a matter of urgency if the country was to ever fight its HIV/Aids prevalence rate.

“Anything that is used as a medicine should be medically tested and proven that it does not have any side effects or that whatever it is said to prevent is true. In this instance it becomes a more worrying phenomenon because it comes at a time when we are preaching safe sex in order to reduce our prevalence rate.

“People should not just use such medicines recklessly; on our part it goes to show that there is more that we should do to raise awareness among our citizens not to just fall victim to such reckless beliefs,” said Dr Chimedza.

According to women who offer backyard abortion services, Stametta was the safest method they used to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Before the advent of Stametta, most of them used the coat hanger wire or a knitting needle to terminate pregnancy.

“Abortion is safer and more efficient with Stametta. I simply instruct my clients to buy this Stametta but it should happen within weeks of the pregnancy. I know some people believe it does not work but I have a lot of examples where it has worked,” said a woman from Tshabalala.


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  • Thor- god of thunder

    why not sell PEP to willing buyers who may engaged in unprotected sex,that way those that make mistakes can have a second chance,

  • Dombodema

    To just show you that Richard Rukwata is moron of the year 2016, take Aspirin, a medicine approved by his Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, MCAZ. The medicine’s healing claims are outlandish. You find it is claimed to be a treatment for a number of things; Headache, Fever, Blood clots, Heart attacks etc. Then you just get to ask yourself whether this is really possible.
    The MCAZ’s anti-sex stance is so legendary you would be mistaken to think it is an extension of the Roman Catholic hegemony.
    President Robert Mugabe and Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede have publicly bemoaned Zimbabwe’s miserable population statistic, blaming it on declining sexual activity among Zimbabweans. Whatever the reason for this declining sexuality, and in the absence of evidence of unsafeness of sex-enhancement complementary medicines, Richard Rukwata’s unelected MCAZ’s anti-sexuality mindset must be judged against the expressed thinkings of our popularly elected President and his Registrar-General appointee.
    We must always bear in mind that the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act, MASCA, despite some cosmetic amendments here and there, remains a Rhodesian piece of legislation originally created by a racist Rhodesian Parliament in 1969, as a legal tool to control the ‘medicinal behaviour of black Zimbabweans’.
    The past 15 years have seen Zimbabweans deliberately pursuing a policy of Indigenisation and Black Empowerment, whose thrust is to restore control of economic, political, social, legal and, of course, medicinal life to Zimbabweans.
    The indigenisation wave has exorcised Rhodesia out of many areas of Zimbabwean professional life, but has spectacularly failed to influence the Pharmacy profession, which despite the medicinal revolutions simmering outside and around it, remains entrenched in a Rhodesian professional mindset, under the draconian control of a regulator, MCAZ, armed with an equally Rhodesian legal toolkit, MASCA.
    Just look at how thriving the business in unregistered, non-registrable and complementary medicines like Stametta outside the Pharmacy profession, and you will understand how irrelevant Rukwata’s MCAZ has become in the medicinal scheme of things, and how meaningless its vision of being ‘…an effective medicines regulator in Zimbabwe…’ has become.
    In spite of predictable electoral disputes here and there, Zimbabwe is a thriving democracy, and in a democracy, governments, including quasi-government organisations like MCAZ retain legitimacy not by dancing to foreign or colonial legal tunes, but by listening to and delivering according to the wishes of the same Zimbabwean people who voted the mother government into power.

  • bhinikwa

    If its popular, it means its effective somehow. Word of mouth advertising is the most effective

  • Man

    These regulatory authority always find themselves in the dark ages. Even state approved medicine has its own side effects! Instead of engaging with researchers and pharmaceutical practitioners to assess the effectiveness of these alternative medicines these authorities are quick to dismiss anything that they don’t bother to learn more about and are not in control of. This culture is prevalent across all regulatory bodies in the country. The RBZs recent ban on trading associated with crypto-currency is one example, the same technology is being embraced in Rwanda, Japan, Russia and more countries globally whilst the authorities at the central bank are happy with banning it because they don’t understand it that much if at all.

    Let science seek to validate the claims of these alternative medicines, many of which are proving to be more effective, and let the benefits be then published. Fortunately there’s a provision of the use of traditional medicines in our law, so for as long as they exist, i’ll go the alternative route as far as my options and knowledge allow me

    • ngiso

      anything that cannot be patented the pharmaceutical industry is not interested in carrying out research for obvious reasons. could be that that this herbal concoction is effective and threatening to take the business away from the pharmaceuticals.