UGANDA FACING 150 MILLION CONDOM SHORTFALL – HEALTH MINISTRY

KAMPALA, Uganda is facing a shortage of 150 million condoms and this is likely to cause a setback to government's efforts to prevent of HIV/AIDS, said the Health Ministry.

We anticipated that the 350 million condoms that were procured would take the country up to the end of the year but we seem to be in for a stock out. We request that UNFPA helps us to procure more, Vastha Kibirige, the national condom coordination officer in the HIV/AIDS control program at the Ministry of Health said.

She made the revelation during the pilot launch of the National Condom Logistics Management Information System (CLMIS) here. CLMIS will be piloted in 7 selected districts and will be rolled out countrywide after a year.

The Ministry officials determined the 150m shortage by the pattern of distribution.

We found out that our condom distributors are asking for more than what they are supposed to take. We cannot fail to give them more, Kibirige explained.

Condoms are a barrier method of contraception; if used correctly can be highly effective against HIV and STI transmission.

About 20 million condoms are needed per month and the Ministry anticipates that the available condoms will take the country up to September.

Kibirige also expressed with worry that shortage in accessing HIV/AIDS preventive methods, condoms inclusive, may deter Uganda's efforts to reach the planned goals.

Recently President Yoweri Museveni launched a fast-track initiative on ending HIV/AIDS in Uganda by 2030. Under this plan, Uganda intends to attain 90-90-90 targets particularly among men and young people.

Kibirige also urged the stakeholders to increase on the lubricants used alongside condoms to enable safe use of condoms.

There is enormous need of lubricants and government procured 964 pieces at sh80million. The older women, HIV positives, those on slimming tablets among others need the lubricants to be used with condoms, she noted.

Monja Minsi, the advocacy and sexual reproductive health manager at AIDS Information Centre also pointed to the fact that the HIV/AIDS fight has regressed because of failure to provide information to the population on how to prevent the epidemic.

Condom use is one of the preventive measures of HIV/AIDS and the commonest used especially by youth. This coupled with lack of a national condom use distribution system has limited efforts to track usage and potential stock out areas.

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) and the AIDS Information Centre (AIC) supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is spearheading the implementation of the condom distribution program in the country aimed at increasing accessibility of condoms to the population in need for family planning as well as sexually transmitted infections and HIV prevention.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) assistant representative, Edson Muhwezi, said the CLMIS initiative would track condom distribution in the country.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK