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Last Updated: Monday, 13 December, 2004, 13:55 GMT
Uganda to run short of condoms
Aids awareness poster
The shortage could threaten the success of anti-Aids awareness work
Uganda is facing a shortage of condoms, the country's condom co-ordinator Vastha Kibirige has confirmed.

Some 10 million condoms are stuck in warehouses awaiting inspection, as fears about quality prompted Uganda to lengthen approval procedures.

"We are going to face six months of limited supply," Ms Kibirige told Uganda's state-owned New Vision newspaper.

"We fear that in the meantime, some people might have unprotected sex."

"We don't want anybody to die. If there is a way to prevent HIV infection and we do not make it available that would be criminal," she said.

Smelly condoms

Ms Kibirige, who heads up the condom team in the Ministry of Health, confirmed the shortage to the BBC but has declined to comment further.

Supply of the government's Engabu brand - a Luganda word which means shield - has been frozen and the free condoms given out by the Ministry of Health and subsidised brands are running out.

The government has five million other brands of condoms, which is enough for two months, Ms Kibirige told the New Vision newspaper. The next supply is expected in six months.

The National Drugs Authority is reported to be currently shipping condoms to Europe to be tested as it does not have its own condom-testing equipment yet.

Complaints about quality first emerged in September this year.

"People complained about the unusual smell of the condoms," Uganda Aids Commission's Dr David Apuuli told the BBC News Website.

"We have condoms in the country and as soon as they are tested, they will be distributed," he added.

Uganda was one of the first countries to be hard hit by the virus and it has been widely praised for its success in the fight against Aids.

At the end of 2002, the HIV/Aids rate was estimated to be 6.2%.




SEE ALSO:
Call for Ugandan virgin census
02 Dec 04 |  Africa


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