Residents of Kuruman in the Northern Cape are up in arms
after free condom supplies to local hospitals and clinics have run out.
New condoms more popular
While health authorities have assured people that orders
have been placed on time and deliveries are expected shortly, people say they
have been without free condom supplies for a long time.
This, they say, is due
to the change in the government-issue condoms from standard condoms to newly
branded, flavoured and coloured condoms which were much more popular and
therefore in higher demand.
The District Department of Health confirmed that they had
distributed high numbers of condoms after Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi,
introduced the new Max condoms last year. This came after public complaints
about the old Blue Choice condoms which they said were not lubricated and smelt
Read: Beyond condoms and the snip
According to the District Health Department, their
prevention unit would go out every Friday to ensure that all the local hotspots
were stocked with condoms. However, there has recently been no stock in the
district and so stocks have not been replenished while the district waits on
the province to fill their standing order.
Patients waiting in a queue at Kuruman Clinic said they were
worried that the current shortage of condoms might further contribute to the
rising HIV infection rate in the area. A healthcare worker said this was a good
time for people to practice abstinence or make use of the available female
The Northern Cape Health Department’s communications officer
Lulu Mxekezo said the province had introduced a massive public health condom
distribution programme to offer free condoms to disadvantaged South Africans.
This was after Minister Motsoaledi introduced the new range of coloured condoms
as part of a strategy to revive and rejuvenate interest in condoms among the
sexually active population and in that way reduce HIV and STI infections and
prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Read: Condoms for your teenager?
The new condoms were also distributed at non-traditional
outlets such as taverns, petrol stations, hotels and tuck shops in order to
Mxekezo said bulk orders were delivered every quarter,
meaning that the Northern Cape would be taking delivery from the national
condom suppliers after the first week of November. Areas that had run out of
supplies would be prioritised, she said.
She added that areas that had reported stock shortages had
in the meantime received consignments of the old Blue Choice condoms as well as
two varieties of female condoms. – Health-e News.
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