Kasha, an e-commerce platform for health products, is changing the way women and girls access and use contraceptives.
The freedom and confidentiality offered on the platform has made it possible for young women who would have otherwise shied away from buying emergency contraceptives and condoms over-the-counter at health facilities or pharmacies to do so.
Although young adults are increasingly shunning using contraceptives, platforms like Kasha are helping to stop this habit.
Customers can buy items ranging from sanitary pads, lotions, soaps, make-up, contraceptives like the pill, implants and intrauterine device. However, it is condoms and the emergency pill that are the best sellers.
“At Kasha we believe in giving women a choice by providing various contraceptive options and condoms are our top selling contraception products,” said Dianne Dusaidi, the country director of Kasha Rwanda.
She said condoms remain their top sellers since they started the company in 2016. However, they have seen a surge in the purchase of morning after pills.
When asked what the trend means, Ms Dusaidi said the fact that society has made sex a taboo subject, has robed many young people from getting reproductive health education, which explains the high rate of unplanned pregnancies.
“Sex and contraceptives largely remain taboo subjects and there is a lot of stigma associated with them. Our platform offers confidentiality, which has encouraged customers to buy contraceptives without fear or worry about being stigmatised, and this has seen the number of customers grow,” she said.
Reports have shown an increase in usage of NorLevo emergency pill in the country, with many young girls reportedly taking it multiple times in a week, which could lead to infertility and other health problems. However, health experts refute these claims.
“Emergency pills are used to avoid or delay ovulation and there is no published research that shows a risk of being infertile because of morning after pills,” said Grace Kansayisa, a medical practitioner in Kigali.
Her response concurred with findings by the World Health Organisation, which showed that the use of hormonal contraception has no effect on future fertility because the drug wears out of the body in a few days and women who have used them can become pregnant.
Mutuelle de Santé holders can access contraceptives at public health centres for free, however this excludes emergency contraceptives like NorLevo. Kasha also works with pharmacies and health clinics to provide HIV oral self test kits and antiretroviral drugs, which are used to control HIV infection.