In Kenya, commercial sex workers are declaring a shortage of government supplied condoms.
In Busia county, the residents whom majority are commercial sex workers, say they are now forced to wash and reuse the contraceptives to meet the sexual needs of their customers.
One of the sex workers spoke to a local television station said the county has been experiencing a shortage of female and male condoms for a while and the few that are available are from the neighboring country Uganda.
To safeguard themselves against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, gonorrhea the women can’t afford to buy condoms resorting to reusing them after washing them, unaware of the dangers involved.
The woman told NTV, “we are pleading with the government to release condoms to Busia because our lives are at risk.”
Other residents said they risk unplanned pregnancies if the government does not step in.
The director of medical services in Busia county, Janrose Ambuchi, however said her office was not aware of the reuse of contraceptives.
“It has not come to my attention, but if its happening it should not be allowed to continue because the integrity of the condom is going to be affected. The second and third use because of lack of condoms will expose this generation to danger.”Ambuchi said.
The short supply of condoms is as a result to a decline in international funding.
“The county (Busia)is experiencing a drastic shortage of condom and its not in Busia alone. Its a national problem, this is a donor-funded commodity based on global fund . At the moment donor funding has reduced.” she said
In February, the National Aids Control Council (NACC) said, there is a serious shortage of condoms in the country, exposing the public to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
NACC said the country’s condom demand stands at 480 million annually while the current stock is only 79 million.
Speaking while marking World Condoms Day at Kenya Coast Polytechnic in Mombasa , Omar Mwanjara NACC coast coordinator, said the country is faced with a great deficit of 402 million condoms a move that has affected free supply of the commodity to targeted population.
Mwanjara said, “situation has forced us to focus on only those in dire need which has raised complaints. The demand shows a huge population depends on free government condoms.
Aids Healthcare Foundation Prevention Programmer Manager, Mary Nyaguthii called on the government to address the shortage ,saying it is adversary affecting the fight against HIV and others sexually transmitted diseases.
Its shocking that condoms are been reused and that the country is experiencing a shortage since they are important . Its up to the government to prevent and supply the condoms since reusing them is unsanitary and not ok. It can lead to a high number of people been affected.
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