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Shortage of free condoms hit Kisumu

Only 5,000 government-provided condoms available

[FILE] An Aids Healthcare Foundation-Kenya worker distributes condoms in the streets of Nairobi on February 14, 2014 to promote safe sex practices during the Valentine week and to mark the International Condom Day. (Photo by  SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Kisumu is in the grip of an acute shortage of condoms, a day after the much anticipated AfriCities Conference began in Kenya's third-largest city on Tuesday, May 17.

Most public health facilities, hotels, offices and restaurants have not had free condoms in their dispensers for a majority of the month with the Nation reporting that only 5,000 government-provided condoms are available.

Erick Okioma, a TB and HIV champion running the Nelson Mandela TB HIV Community Based Organisation in Nyalenda, told the Nation that the shortage of condoms could exacerbate the HIV crisis in the county.

“We are among counties with the highest HIV prevalence in the country and therefore the need for protection at all costs. This shortage just exposes the already vulnerable groups,” said Okioma.

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In 2021, the National Aids Control Council (NACC) estimated that 16 per cent of the population in Kisumu is HIV positive.

In 2020, the National Aids and STIs Control Programme (NASCOP) data revealed Kisumu had recorded 4,661 new infections while youths aged between 15 and 24 accounted for most of the new cases.

Dr Fred Oluoch, the Kisumu director of public health and sanitation, told the Sunday Nation that only 5,000 condoms had been distributed to various sections of the city including venues hosting delegates taking part in the AfriCities summit.

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“We will distribute some condoms in the toilet dispensers at the summit’s venue in Mamboleo for the guests but we call upon the public to also protect themselves by purchasing the important commodity in shops,” said Dr Oluoch.

The summit, launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday, is scheduled to run from May 17 to 21 under the theme: The contribution of Africa's intermediary cities to the implementation of Vision 2030 of the United Nations and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

About 10,000 participants are expected from other parts of the world, including football legends Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba from Cameroon and Ivory Coast respectively.

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