- PSI to lose condom funding
Sexual activity may have to be limited in the near future if an announcement by Population Service International (PSI) regarding an impending condom shortage, is anything to go by.
PSI who have been assisting government with the distribution of free condoms since 1992, through support from the Dutch government, will have their funding contract with the Royal Netherlands Embassy terminated by the end of the year.
The termination follows Botswana’s ascendance to middle-income status which, according to officials at PSI, means that local NGOs will no longer enjoy funding preference by foreign donors. Field Operations Manager at PSI, Lillian Setimela, this week revealed that they have been out of stock for Lovers’ Plus condoms since September.
“It is a serious problem because part of what we do is distributing condoms on behalf of government by reaching populations that may not have the capacity to reach retail outlets. We had, together with regional countries such as South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, a five year funding contract with the Dutch government but it may not be renewed when it expires in December because we are considered a middle income country.”
Setimela says PSI has had to borrow supplies from the Society for Family Health in South Africa to mitigate the situation and that they have had to increase condom prices. “Apart from the fact that prices rose with other goods affected by inflation, we had to increase prices. Plain Lovers Plus condoms are now cost P350 while flavoured ones are worth P650 for a pack of three.”
Setimela however assured consumers that there was no need to panic as government had promised to come to the rescue. While he admitted that the shortage was a concern to the government, Ministry of Health spokesperson, Themba Sibanda, said the ‘Lorato’ brand of condoms that is manufactured by Latex Medical Products was available and that the ministry was in the process of assisting PSI with the supply.
“Government condom supply is done through tender open to condom manufacturing companies in Botswana. Currently Latex Medical Products has been supplying government with the Lorato brand of male latex condoms. The company supplies on average, up to 24 million pieces per year.
The other company, Gemi Rubber has been contracted to supply government with female condoms.The Ministry of Heallth has in the past procured Lover’s Plus Plain Condoms for PSI (Botswana) as its’ contribution towards condom social marketing. Currently the Ministry is procuring 3 million pieces of Lover’s Plus Plain Condom for use during this financial year,” he said in response to a Voice questionnaire.