THE shortage of condoms will affect efforts made to stop new HIV infections and hence de-rail gains so far made in mitigating the virus, says NZP+.
And an analysis contained in the Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015, released by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division, indicates that only nine countries globally have managed to achieve the MDG 5 that targeted to reduce maternal mortality ratio by at least 75 per cent.
Zambia Medical Association president Dr Aaron Mujajati last week said there is a shortage of condoms used in HIV prevention programmes.
“If you go to health facilities, you find that most health facilities do not have adequate stocks of condoms. If you speak to CSOz who are involved in HIV prevention programmes, they will tell you that they do not have adequate stocks of condoms,” said Dr Mujajati. “So the majority of condoms aer the ones which are commercially available, like you have to go into a shop and buy. Now the ones that we factor in HIV prevention programmes are the ones we distribute for free…”
Agreeing with Dr Mujajati’s observation, Zambia Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NZP+) Livingstone coordinator Susan Kekelwa said the NZP+ survey had revealed that there is shortage of condoms in the tourist capital.
“After Dr Mujajati’s concerns, we went round and we realised that there are no condoms in town; most of the bars don’t have the Maximum condoms that were being sold on the shelves of bars and the only condoms available are from chemists and some street boys who operate outside night clubs. However, this is dangerous as the condoms cannot be authenticated as regards their expiry dates,” Kekelwa said.
“This is a serious observation and it may reverse the gains so far made in having a reduction in new infections. So the ministry of health needs to do something. While we agree with [health permanent secretary] Dr [Peter] Mwaba that hospitals don’t stock condoms, he should realise that sexual intercourse is planned from bars and night clubs and so they need to be stocked with condoms.”
Meanwhile, the Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015 estimates that a woman’s risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes has nearly halved over the past 25 years.
UNICEF deputy executive director Geeta Rao Gupta states that as with all of the health-related MDGs, health system strengthening needs to be supplemented with attention to other issues to reduce maternal deaths.
“The education of women and girls, in particular the most marginalized, is key to their survival and that of their children. Education provides them with the knowledge to challenge traditional practices that endanger them and their children,” stated Gupta, adding that by end of this year, about 99 per cent of the world’s maternal deaths will have occurred in developing regions, with sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for two in three (66 per cent) deaths.