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State appeals for condom funds from the US

Updated Thursday, March 24th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Elizabeth Mwai

The country is facing a condom shortage following increased demand, which has hit 20 million monthly.

Yesterday, Public Health Minister Beth Mugo confirmed the increased demand for condoms, saying the Government had failed in its projection while procuring the commodity.

Due to the increased demand, Mugo said, the Government has made an appeal to the US for emergency funding to procure 45 million more condoms in the next two months.

"This is a short-term shortage and we are discussing with the UNFPA on long-term supplies," said the minister during a Press conference at the ministry headquarters.

Although Mugo termed the problem short-term shortage, for the past one year, condom shortages have been experienced in some rural areas.

Fielding questions from journalists over the use of plastic bags and re-use of condoms among Isiolo residents, the minister said there was need to reach that community with the commodity.

The country is experiencing storage and distribution challenges, hence the disparities in some regions.

Mugo said they were using one social marketing agency, Population Service International, while using other Community Based Organisations and the private sector in the distribution.

Industry critics have, however, been sceptical over the monopolies in the condom distribution structures, which they have described as weak.

Public Health head of technical services Dr Shahnaz Sharif said the ministry’s plan was to have condoms come in as the stocks were being depleted.

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