Condom Imports Up

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In short
According to the Ministry of Health, 240 million condoms are imported into the country annually by government. Vivian Serwanjja says the ministry of health relies on condoms as one of the HIV preventive methods in the country.

There is increased importation of condoms by the private sector in the country, the National Drug Authority-NDA has revealed. According to NDA, there has been a study increase in the importation of condoms in the last three years.

 
Statistics from NDA show an increase in the importation of condoms from 154 million in 2015 to 175 million in 2016. This number is estimated to have increased to 180 million condoms this year in the private sector.

 
Donna Kusemererwa, the NDA Secretary, attributes the increase to the willingness by users to buy the condoms as opposed to relying on those distributed by government.


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According to Reproductive Health Uganda, there are around 19 condom brands in the country.  Imported condoms are categorized as either free, which are distributed by government, low cost and high cost. 




The most common types on the market are low cost condoms, which include Life Guard, Protector, O and Trust. High Cost brands include Rough riders, Safe & Wild, endurance, erotica, bare back, Kiss and Romance.



 
URN visited Plus Medic Pharmacy in Wandegeya on valentine's eve and found 35-year-old Ivan Mubiru buying condoms during his lunch break. Mubiru said that he was buying the condoms to go and enjoy Valentine's Day with his girlfriend.


Mubiru, who had just purchased a packet of Romance condoms, says that he prefers the brand because it is better than those issued by government.



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Stanley Semambo, a pharmacist at Plus Medic, says their sales on Valentine 's Day tend to fluctuate depending on the time of day. "On days like today, we tend to sell more condoms in the evening hours compared to during the day when most people are in office working," he said.


On the open market, condoms vary in cost depending on the brand. Low cost brands like Life Guard, Protector and Trust can be bought for as low as Shillings 1,500 for a packet of three. 




High end brands such as roughrider and romance cost as much as Shs. 10,000 for a packet of three condoms. Filly Ndagire, sales Medipharm Industries- a company that distributes Rough Rider and several other brands of condoms like endurance and bare back, says their sales have increased over time.

 
"When we introduced our condoms on the market around six years ago, they were not as popular. We hardly imported a batch made up of 100 boxes a year. Today we import twice this amount," he said.
 
 
According to the Ministry of Health, 240 million condoms are imported into the country annually by government.  Vivian Serwanjja says the ministry of health relies on condoms as one of the HIV preventive methods in the country. 


"We import many condoms because it is one of the HIV preventive methods that we rely on. As such we supply them in all government offices and places. More people have embraced condom use in the country which has helped reduce the HIV prevalent rates from 7.3 percent to 6 percent," he said.



 
Dr. Carol Nakazi, the Coordinator HIV Prevention, Uganda AIDS Commission, says while more brands of condoms are available on the market, less people are using them for HIV prevention. "Most people these days use condoms to prevent pregnancies rather than HIV because people are no longer scared of HIV," she said.