Kenya’s condom shortage

Health authorities in Kenya have revealed that the country was facing a condom shortage and it has made an emergency order of 45 million more. A January consignment of 19 million condoms lasted for around six weeks.

This emergency supply would come from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and is expected April 10. “The demand was eight million per month - then it went to 12 million and currently stands at around 20 million. That gives you the number of encounters people would have,” Public Health Director Shahnaaz Sharif said. Kenya has a population of about 40 million.

Sharif added that the shortage had seen an average of eight million Kenyans lose access to the condoms. The revelation comes after reports emerged that residents of Isiolo were recycling the protective devices. National AIDS Control Programme deputy director Peter Cherutich explained that the government had, in addition, signed a long term agreement with the United Nations Population Fund to supply 180 million condoms. He added that the government was also expecting an additional consignment of condoms in May, which was expected to last until August. “The delivery bought 19 million condoms in January which were distributed. But we are expecting others that will come in consistently beginning May, for 30 million condoms each month, until August,” he explained.

Dr Cherutich explained that the poor infrastructure especially, in the lowest levels of healthcare, had been hindering the distribution of condoms forcing the government to partner with Community Based Organisations to facilitate the delivery. “We have procured vehicles that will transport these condoms to the interior but we must also appreciate that their delivery requires proper road networks and that is one of the challenges that we face,” he said.

The government also moved to reassure Kenyans on the availability of anti HIV drugs after media reports indicated that there was a shortage. Public Health minister Beth Mugo said that donors were not pulling out from funding HIV/AIDS programmes in the country and instead explained that they were reorganising their funding structures. “The current PEPFAR II programme which supports HIV/AIDS to the tune of Sh3.3 trillion ends in 2015 after which all US aid to the health sector including HIV will be channelled through the Global Health Initiative programme,” she said.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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