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Ministry releases 50 million condoms as dispensers run dry – The Star Kenya

•The current aggregate tax regime slapped on condom procurements is Shilling for a shilling.
•Kinyanjui also emphasized that condoms must be viewed as an investment and not a cost.
The Ministry of Health has released more than 50 million condoms for circulation across the country amid concerns of shortage.
The civil society has expressed concern over a looming condoms shortage as the Christmas season nears.
The AIDs Healthcare Foundation has noted that despite Kenya making gains in the fight against HIV/AIDs, there is a high risk of rolling back if the issue of condom shortage in the country is not addressed.
They noted that the Kenya government procures 150 million pieces against a projected demand of 466 million.
But hours later, an official from the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme said the consignment had been released, with the civil society saying the 50 million as alleged will not be enough.
“If they were released yesterday or today, what are we saying in terms of between January and now and if we are serious we are fighting HIV and teenage pregnancies why did it take that long to release the condoms?” Nelson Otwoma said.
Otuoma is the executive director of  the National Empowerment Network of People living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK).
“Today we are talking before we see what was released but we just want to give the benefit of doubt that they were released. What is the plan after these 50 million are over because they cannot last a year, they can last around six to seven months,” Otuoma added.
AHF Kenya country director Dr Samuel Kinyanjui had on Monday raised alarm that that there is a gap of about 112 million condoms which translates to a budgetary hole of Sh38 million.
“A spot check of many public health facilities, offices, hotels and restaurants confirms they have had no condoms in their dispensers for a prolonged period,” Kinyanjui said.
The shortage has been blamed on the high taxes levied on the commodities by the government despite them being donations, with some donors being forced to redirect their consignments to other countries.
According to Kinyanjui, the current aggregate tax regime slapped on condom procurements is Shilling for a shilling.
Kinyanjui also emphasised that condoms must be viewed as an investment and not a cost.
“Statistically, with enough condoms, the country will be saved from treating more than 800,000 newly infected persons in the next ten years and up to 5.3 million unplanned pregnancies, 60% of which are teenage, will be averted,” he said.
He noted that the cost of treating one infected person every year is about Sh30,000 which is avoidable.
As the search for more preventive technologies such as HIV vaccines and microbicides gathers pace, condoms remain the core preventive measure for many Kenyans.
Prevention remains the mainstay of the response to HIV/AIDS.
United Nations Population Fund notes that condoms are an integral and essential part of comprehensive prevention and care programmes, and their promotion must be accelerated.
The agency has in the past advocated for the universal availability of condoms, either free or at low cost, and promoted in way is that help overcome social and personal obstacles to their use. 
According to the National Council for Population and Development Director General Mohammed Sheikh, Kenya has continually increased funding the family planning programme.
He said, however, the country needs to find ways of supporting its development programmes including that of family planning rather than relying on donors.
To increase public funding and reduce reliance on donors, the government and its development partners have agreed on a formula that would have FP fully financed domestically by 2024.
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Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.