Commercial sex workers drawn from Busia county are decrying the shortage of government-supplied condoms in the county.
The women who spoke to a local TV station said they are unable to access the free condoms provided by the government.
While pleading with the government to provide them with condoms the call girls noted that the predicament has forced them to wash used condoms and reuse them in order to keep their business flourishing.
“We cannot access the free condoms provided by the government. The condoms we use to buy at KSh 150 now go for KSh 400. If you look at the brands carefully, they are from Uganda,” one of the women stated.
“We are forced to wash used condoms but you know there is a huge possibility of the condoms bursting,” she added.
Earlier, Janerose Ambuchi, the Director of Medical Services in Busia county, said her office was not aware of the recycling of the contraceptives.
“It has not come to my desk but if it’s happening it should not be allowed to continue because the integrity of the condom is going to be affected. The second and third use because of lack of condoms will expose this generation to danger,” Ambuchi said.
The officer attributed the short supply of condoms to a decline in international donor funding.
“The county (Busia) is experiencing an acute shortage of condoms which is not a Busia problem alone. It’s a national problem. This is a donor-funded commodity based on a global fund. At the moment, donor funding has dwindled,” she said.
In February 2022, the National Aids Control Council (NACC) acknowledges that there was a serious shortage of condoms in the country, exposing the public to the risk of contracting HIV/Aids, unplanned pregnancies and other sexually transmitted infections.
NACC said the country’s condom demand stood at 480 million annually while the stock at the time was only 79 million.
Speaking while marking the World Condoms Day at Kenya Coast Polytechnic in Mombasa, NACC Coast Region Coordinator Omar Mwanjama said the country was faced with a deficit of 401 million condoms, a move that affected the free supply of the commodity to the targeted population.
“The country is working on a low supply compared to the demand. The shortage is real and needs to be addressed as it might slow down the gains in the fight against Aids and other STIs,” Mwanjama said.
The shortage forced NACC to focus only on those in dire need of the commodity offered free by the government.
“Situation has forced us to focus on only those in dire need, which has raised complaints. The demand shows that a huge population depends on free government condoms,” Mwanjama added.
Aids Healthcare Foundation Prevention Programmes Manager Mary Nyaguthii called on the government to address the shortage, saying it is adversely affecting the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Shortage of condoms is a big blow in the fight against HIV/Aids. The government needs to assure Kenyans of enough supplies through partnerships with other health organisations,” Nyaguthii said.