LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka
THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated over 250 condom dispensers worth K370 000 to the National Aids Council (NAC) for distribution in communities where the HIV prevalence is high.
UNFPA country representative Mary Otieno, handing over the condom dispensers at the NAC offices in Lusaka recently, expressed hope that the dispensers will be used for the intended purpose.
â€œAlthough condoms [distribution] are part of most national HIV, STI and reproduction health programmes, condoms have not been distributed neither have they been promoted proactively enough,â€™â€™ Dr Otieno said.
Dr Otieno said in locations where the HIV prevalence is high, condom distribution and promotion should become systematically integrated in community outreach programmes, service delivery, and in the broader health services.
She said UNFPA will continue advocating for increased funding towards anti-HIV/AIDS programmes.
Dr Otieno noted that condom use does not only prevent HIV and AIDS, but also protects users from other sexually transmitted infections and also averts unwanted pregnancies.
She expressed hope that the condom dispensers will help remove some of the barriers to condom access and use by the sexually active or those at risk of contracting HIV and STIs.
The condom dispensers will be placed in places where members of the public could easily access them. Regions are still working on a distribution plan, although Western Province is being regarded as top priority given its rise in HIV prevalence currently standing at 16 percent well above the national prevalence rate of 11 percent.
And speaking at the same function, NAC acting director John Mwale expressed hope that the new dispensers would help reduce HIV infection rates.
He said over the years, the number of people dying from HIV-related infections has reduced from over 70 000 deaths per year to 19 000 deaths per annum.
Mr Mwale said most of the condom dispensers will be distributed in Western Province.
LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka