The National Aids Control Commission (CNLS) announced that there shall be a three months long campaign on the use of condoms at the end of this year, where they will go to all the districts nationwide sensitizing on the use of condoms among the youth.
Condoms have now become the dominant method of contraception because of their dual protection against HIV transmission and pregnancy.
Research has shown that Condoms are 98 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy when used consistently and correctly. However, there is a condom brand known as ‘Hot’ that leaks.
This was reported by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and CNLS. They were banned in Kenya and Zambia as well, following a test that showed they leaked.
How long has it been on the Rwandan market? People, who have been using the brand, which are manufactured in the UK, have been left in fear.
Chantal Atukunda, the Public Relations officer of RBS, told me that the brand is said to have some small holes that cause leakages; therefore defeating their whole purpose.
She however said that until the brand is improved and approved by RBS, the public should discontinue its use. In Uganda, Peter Ssali, the head of the medical Devices Unit Quality Control Laboratory, told the press that it can be a big health threat to the country if there are leaking condoms on the market.
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has continued to drop over the years in Rwanda and this is the main goal of CNLS. There should therefore be a comprehensive study done by CNLS to determine how the issue has affected the people’s confidence in condoms and they must move to restore the people’s confidence in them again during the end of year campaign.
Abstinence, faithfulness to one sexual partner and the usage of condoms are themes being used by local and international organizations, as well as CNLS in collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. However, this is only made effective by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards taking condom quality seriously.
Now that we, the public, are aware that there has been a brand out there in the markets for while before it was noticed that it leaks, how sure are we that there are not more out there that are not safe?
I am not blaming anyone but I also can’t help wondering how a product that involves saving human life can be allowed into the country without going through scrupulous quality tests.
More assurance and recommendations should be made to the general public whether those left on the market are safe condoms.
One man from Nairobi gave a very viable scenario to the press and I quote, “imagine a woman who is supposed to negotiate condom use as they are always told,”. “The man will simply tell her ‘those things leak, it doesn’t make a difference’.”
The author is a journalist, The New Times