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73m condoms on the way to end shortage

Source: Daily Nation
By EDITH FORTUNATE
Posted Tuesday, March 29 2011 at 22:00
A total of 73 million condoms will be delivered to Kenya in April and May to end the acute shortage of the contraceptive in various parts of the country.

The figure is 28 million higher than the 45 million that had been requested by the government.

The shortage has been hurting the government’s war against Aids, particularly in marginalised areas of northern Kenya, where most people depend on the free condoms supplied by the government.

The United Nations Population Fund said the increased supplies were meant to meet the high demand for the contraceptives.

“We have a shortage of free condoms and the key reasons being that the population is growing at three per cent per year and there is also growing demand due to enough (Aids) education,” said deputy director Alexander Ilyin.

In December last year, Teso North residents complained about an acute shortage of condoms in Amagoro area. Kenya’s demand for condoms has been growing steadily and currently stands at about 20 million condoms a month.

Public Health director Shahnaaz Sharif a fortnight ago said that the January consignment of 19 million condoms lasted only six weeks.

A consignment of 34 million condoms is scheduled to be delivered on April 8.

Bad roads in remote areas were seen as part of the cause of the shortage, which prompted the ministry to place an emergency order for 45 million condoms.

Mr Ilyin, however, maintained that distribution had improved and officials were able to reach people in remote areas, leaving those who cannot access the free supply at 24 per cent.

According to some reports, there are many people who do not like free condoms and engage in sex without protection.

Some lodging attendants end up repackaging the government-supplied condoms so that the public do not shun them.

They do so in a bid to safeguard their health. Most lodges tend to supply their clients with free condoms whenever they book rooms.

Hundreds of condoms were distributed to herders in Shambani, Isiolo, on Monday following an outcry over a shortage in the area.

A man washes a condom in Isiolo for recycling. Kenya has been experiencing a shortage of the contraceptive. PHOTO / CORRESPONDENT

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