Over 30m condoms distributed this year

Over 30 million condoms will have been distributed by the end of next month, The New Times has learnt.  The figure projects an increment of eight million condoms from those distributed last year.  According to available statistics, 23 million condoms were distributed in 2010 while 16 million were distributed in 2009.

Over 30 million condoms will have been distributed by the end of next month, The New Times has learnt.

The figure projects an increment of eight million condoms from those distributed last year.

According to available statistics, 23 million condoms were distributed in 2010 while 16 million were distributed in 2009.

Officials attributed the drastic increment to improved awareness and condom demand pointing out that distribution channels had also been effective.

Condoms are normally distributed through the social marketing approach which ensures their availability through the commercial sector at a fee.

The other approach is the distribution of free condoms through health facilities.

According to Population Service International (PSI) Country Representative, Zach Akinyemi, PSI distributes Prudence and Plaisir condoms through social marketing.

He added that on average, 13.5 million condoms have been distributed annually, over the past three years.

Under the public sector approach, the social mobilisation officer in the Ministry of Health, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, pointed out that they will have distributed at least 18 million condoms countrywide by the end of this year.

Officials say that sexually active population ranges from the age of 15 and above.

Population statistics on the National Institute of Statics of Rwanda (NISR) website indicates that Rwanda presently has a population of 10,718,379 with 53.8 percent (5,766,487) aged between 15 and 59 years of age.

In an interview with The New Times, Akinyemi said that PSI distributed 41,737,462 Prudence and Plaisir condoms between 2008 and 2011.

He added that one of the distribution channels are vending machines installed at various public outlets, which is a collaboration between PSI and Rwanda Biomedical Centre,

Currently, there are 64 machines around Kigali and four at the National University of Rwanda.

Gatabazi said that the total number of condoms distributed from January to date were nine million.

 “We are waiting for 36 million condoms by end of this month, and most of these will be distributed during a campaign on condom use that will be launched in December.”

 “On average, we freely distribute 1.5 million condoms per month through various channels,” Gatabazi said.

Despite being one of the distribution channels, vending machines are rarely refilled.

According to Akinyemi, their ownership was transferred to the proprietors of the places where they are installed.

“We trained the owners of the locations at the various spots where we installed the machines on how to use them and also gave them some condoms for free to enable them to take charge of the machines,” the PSI country director said.

He however noted that PSI in collaboration with RBC are mapping out a strategy to ensure proper management and sustainability of the vending machines.

Akinyemi also revealed that the government would ensure the installation of 750 more vending machines to be installed in all districts.

He commended the government for ensuring an enabling environment for condom distribution through advocacy and various campaigns and programmes to promote good health practices and reduce the stigma associated with condoms.

According to Akinyemi, the growing demand for condoms in Rwanda is attributed to several campaigns on behavioural change communication, peer education, mass media campaigns and decentralisation programmes among others.

Ends

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