KARONGI – The recent proposal to distribute condoms in secondary schools has continued to draw mixed reactions from various quarters.
In the Western Province, a consultative meeting held last week came up with a number of contradicting resolutions on the matter. Officials, including Members of Parliament, gave differing views during the meeting held at the provincial headquarters in Karongi District.
MP Ignatienne Nyirarukundo argued that though she does not support the idea, she believes that condoms should be accessible to adults and students.
“It does not matter whether one is a student or a grown-up, everyone should be able to access a condom if one needs it,” she asserted.
Nyirarukundo stressed that there was need to create awareness by encouraging students to avoid premarital sex before the condom distribution exercise commences.
The arguments come at the backdrop of statistics that indicate a reasonably high rate of school drop-outs among girls due to unwanted pregnancies especially in the Western Province.
In 2010/11, the province reported 177 unwanted pregnancies followed by the Northern Province with 141. The Southern Province reported a total of 130 while the Eastern Province and Kigali City registered 110 and 56, respectively.
An official in charge of Social Mobilisation at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, noted that elders ought to impart moral guidance to the young generation.
“It does not mean that condoms are going to replace abstinence or faithfulness. They can only be used as an alternative means of preventing HIV transmission and avoiding unwanted pregnancies,” Gatabazi observed.