Last month 21st March until today, social media has been a wash of reports of how a woman identified as Atwiine Babra died at the police headquarters in Naguru after collapsing.

According to reports, Barbra went to the police headquarters healthy and sound because she was driving herself. She was wife to Mr. George Ssendagire a resident of Kampala was a mother of three children and had gone to Naguru to deliver some food supplements.

The husband George Ssendagire says that after making research, they realized that his wife might have succumbed to complications as a result of a Chinese contraceptive which was banned by the National Drug Authority but still being sold on the black market.


Sendagire says his wife has ever told him that she was using the Chinese pill which is taken once a month and women like it because of its convenience that the other existing Family planning options currently on the market.

“My wife has always been health. But after a little bit of research, we realized that it (the death) could have been caused by a drug she was using. I remembered that she told me she had been using a banned contraceptive pill. It is sold on the black market. The pill is taken once a month”- Sendagire told a local newspaper

In a police CCTV footage seen by this website, Barbra is seen arriving at the police headquarters in Naguru but is seen taking a pause while walking, as she approaches the steps she could no longer walk and finally falls off and is seen being helped by two men who could have been also visitors at the police headquarters.

Reports indicate that a postmortem report from the city mortuary revealed that Barbra died of “hypoxia following bilateral pulmonary embolism”. Dr Okwadi Tukei the medical personnel  who tried to rescue Ms Atwine when she collapsed explains that Hypoxia refers to low oxygen in the body while bilateral pulmonary embolism refers to blockage of air pathways in both lungs due to blood clot.

However, the pathologists are yet investigating to fully link the clotting to the banned Chinese pill which is said to cause such complications.

Looking at its packet, a translation of the first line says it contains ” Levonorgestrel Fat and Fast Estradol Tablets”. The Pill is a long-acting oral contraceptive”, according to the second line. The there is information about the manufacturer on the third: Zizhu Pharmaceutical Co Ltd”

The banned Chinese Pill

On 13th October 2022, National Drug Authority (NDA) cautioned Ugandans against using this Chinese pill whose name is not even known since the labels are in Chinese but can only be identified by the ingredients labeled on it’s pack Levonorgestrol and Quinestrol.

In the circular, NDA warned that the pill is neither registered nor authorized for sale in Uganda and highlighted their findings in the said pill. According to NDA the pill contains high doses of the hormones above the recommended dosage.

“The pill was found to contain high doses of the hormones above the recommended dosage and the risks associated with the use of this product include among others; prolonged bleeding, irregular menstrual periods, palpitations , possibility of developing blood clots and heart diseases, abnormally thickened endometrium, a predisposing factor for endometrial cancer and infertility”-said NDA in a statement.

The Authority further noted that the Chinese pill when consumed, the hormones stay longer in the body and it’s adverse effects further manifest in the babies that are born by the mothers and these include secondary sexual characteristics like premature puberty.

Just like Uganda, several countries in Africa are fighting the consumption of this Chinese pill. A case in point Zambia banned it in 2016 while Kenya banned in from it’s market in 2009 due it’s negative effects including deformities among children but Kenyans continued consuming it.

In Kenya the pill is known as ‘Sofia’ on the streets. Sofia whose complications don’t usually manifest so quickly like headaches, weight gains, prolonger or irregular periods, stomachache among others. It’s dangers are long term and women who use it tend not to know this. Kenya still battles this Chinese pill till date.

It’s imported into African markets through porous boarders but in Zambia it used to be imported in the guise that it was being brought for Chinese women living in Zambia and it ended up infiltrating the market.

We are however establishing how this unwanted pill gets to the Ugandan market.

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