Will the family planning injection affect my baby?

Monday July 27 2020


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I got a family planning injection two months ago but when I started feeling ill, I went to hospital and it was discovered that I was three months pregnant. Will the injection affect my baby? –Adella
Dear Adella,
The family planning injection mostly used in Uganda is Depo-Provera (Injectaplan) which, if used properly, is more than 99 per cent effective. This and the fact that the pregnancy duration is longer than the time you had the injection means that the injection was given to you when you were already pregnant.

Depo Provera contains a long acting progesterone, which is a synthetic form of the natural female hormone progesterone, which is unlikely to injure the unborn. Infact, progesterone being important in maintaining pregnancy may be given to some mothers early in pregnancy for treatment of some cases of recurrent early pregnancy losses. Please visit your antenatal care clinic for more help.

Does paraffin cure cracked feet known as enkyakya? –Angella
Dear Angella,
Feet have numerous sweat glands (as many as 250,000). These constantly produce about 500mls of sweat, that apart from helping in temperature regulation also keep the feet moist. Without this moisture, the soles of the feet are likely to dry out and crack, forming fissures (enkyakya) which mostly affect the heels.

Walking barefoot on dry ground, especially dry soil (including digging out in dry fields), being obese, or having inactive sweat glands can risk one getting sole fissures. The fissures can cause infections including bacteria that may cause tetanus, cellulitis (etalo), and fleas that cause jiggers.

Treatment and prevention of plantar fissures requires taking adequate amounts of fluids and soaking the feet in water with salt before and after going out in the fields to dig. A rough stone can be used to remove extra hard skin after soaking.
Wearing gumboots while out in the fields is protective, locking out germs and fleas apart from helping to retain plantar moisture. Also, avoiding walking barefoot and wearing covered shoes can also be protective.

My lower lip is always cracking. I eat well and use lip balm but there is no change. Why? –Anna
Dear Anna,
Lips, unlike the skin, have no oil glands to produce oil that helps hold on to moisture and, therefore, can easily dry up and develop cracks. It is not surprising that conditions that steal moisture or a person not being well hydrated can, therefore, easily dry and crack the lips.


Dry weather, using lip balm or lipstick, which have drying agents such as alcohol, smoking and malnutrition can risk one or lead to cracked lips. Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema as well as creams for acne that contain Vitamin A can also crack the lips.

Unfortunately, people with dry lips have a habit of excessively licking their lips which can lead to or worsen cracking.
Proper hydration, a balanced diet, avoiding smoking, avoiding licking your lips and using a lip balm that does not contain drying agents such as camphor, phenol or methanol can help.