Kenyans told to take precautions as shortage of free condoms bite
There is a serious shortage of condoms supply in the country, exposing the public to the risk of contracting HIV/Aids, unplanned pregnancies and other sexually transmitted infections.
National Aids Control Council (NACC) said the country’s condoms demand stands at 480 million annually while the current stock is only 79 million.
Speaking while marking the World Condoms Day at Kenya Coast Polytechnic in Mombasa yesterday, NACC Coast Region Coordinator Omar Mwanjama said the country is faced with a deficit of 401 million condoms, a move that has affected free supply of the commodity to the targeted population.
“The country is working on a low supply compared to the demand. The shortage is real and needs to be addressed as it might slow down the gains in the fight against Aids and other STIs,” said Mwanjama.
Shortage has forced NACC to focus only on those in dire need of the commodity offered free by the government.
“Situation has forced us to focus on only those in dire need, which has raised complaints. The demand shows that a huge population depends on the free government condoms,” added Mwanjama.
Karisa Kazungu, a youth in Mombasa, said the shortage has caused panic, especially among college and university students, who were also beneficiaries of the free commodities.
“It has become hard for the youth to get free condoms that used to be placed in strategic locations in universities and public toilets. This has forced the students to look for the commodities in bars but they still miss them,” said Kazungu.
Aids Healthcare Foundation Prevention Programmes Manager Mary Nyaguthii has called on the government to address the shortage, saying it is adversely affecting the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Shortage of condoms is a big blow in the fight against HIV/Aids. The government needs to assure Kenyans of enough supplies through partnerships with other health organisations,” said Nyaguthii.
She also called for a change of policy and exemption of tax to organisations importing and supplying condoms.