MPs: Condoms are “too small” for Ugandans

Man Jose Kayima

Parliament has tasked the Ministry of Health to address concerns that condoms on the market are “too small” for Ugandans.

The concerns were raised by a section of legislators as they reacted on Uganda’s preparations to commemorate the International Condom Day, which is slated for Tuesday, February 13.

Marked annually, the International Condom Day is a global advocacy and awareness day to promote the use of condoms as a means of preventing the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV, and unplanned pregnancies.

On Friday, some MPs observed that most condoms on the market do not fit Ugandans. They also pointed gaps in educating Ugandans on proper use of condoms in efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa tasked Health minister Ruth Aceng to respond to the concerns raised by the legislators.

“On a very serious note, protection is one of the preventive measures promoted by government and I don’t know why you are laughing, only that it is a day I have never heard of being celebrated,” Tayebwa said.

“But I think Parliament is a platform which we use to inform and educate the public about such issues, so Minister, bring a statement on this.”

Dr Aceng confirmed that the condom day exists and the events are held to purposely sensitize the public on the importance of using condoms.

“The National Condoms Day is commemorated annually and it is true that people know about condoms, but many don’t use them for protection, so the day is held as an advocacy to remind people to use condoms for protection,” she said.

“The member is requesting that we bring a paper here, Speaker, I will leave that to your discretion.”

It is estimated that every year, more than one million people acquire STIs and estimated 80 million unintended pregnancies globally.

Available data shows that of the youth aged between 25-29 in Uganda, 38% do use condoms, and among women aged 24-25, the condom use is too low.

More than 8,000 girls got pregnant during COVID-19 lockdown.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that unprotected sexual intercourse between male and female is a predominant mode of HIV transmission among partners whose status is unknown.

About 1.4 million people are living with HIV in the country, with 43% of new HIV infections occurring in the country.

Last year, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) country director Henry Magala said, if Ugandans emphasized prevention, 70% of the diseases would be prevented.

“According to the AIDS 8th review 2021, we had 53,000 new infections and sex accounts for 80% of the HIV infections and other STDs. If the above people had used condoms correctly and consistently, 42,000 new infections would have been averted if the programing was right and condoms available.” Magala said.

Currently, HIV prevalence is highest in the Central region (10.4%) due to its urbanization and location of the capital city Kampala home to 1.5 million people.

The discovery that AIDS was a sexually transmitted disease, and the only way to protect against it was through barrier methods, led to the biggest spike in condom usage the world has ever

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