The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is urging the government to exempt donors bringing condoms into the country for distribution to public facilities to be exempted from paying tax.
The Foundation’s Country Director, Dr. Samuel Kinyanjui said currently people who were benefiting from free condoms from public facilities are unable to get them as donors are reluctant to provide them.
“We are calling on the government to come up with modalities of bringing down the prevailing high taxes against those willing to step in and help the country restock,” said Kinyanjui.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel ahead of the World AIDs Day commemoration to be held on 1st December this year, the Country Director said the government should urgently address the condom shortage to curb teenage pregnancy which is on the rise.
“With enough condoms, the country will be saved from treating more newly infected persons in the next ten years and unplanned teenage pregnancies will be averted,” he added.
“This is not the first time Kenya is in the grip of shortage of condoms,” said Kinyanjui and emphasized that condoms must be viewed as an investment and not a cost. He at the same time urged the government to come up with a mechanism of stemming the acute shortage that has now become a routine.
“A spot check of many public health facilities, offices, hotels and restaurants confirms they have had no condoms in their dispensers for a prolonged period,” stated Kinyanjui.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation Youth Ambassador, Ferdinand Omanyala, stated that AIDS is the leading cause of death and morbidity among adolescents and young people in Kenya.
“The male latex condom remains the single most efficient available technology to reduce HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” said Omanyala.
Omanyala asked the government and stakeholders to ensure the availability of condoms in public facilities.
By Hellen Mwangi and Isaac K’Obonyo