THE National Aids Council (NAC) says it will be difficult to control the damage that has been caused by the distribution of defective condoms by the Ministry of Health because of the huge loss of public trust.
In an interview, NAC public relations manager Justin Mwiinga observed that when citizens lose trust in the quality of condoms being distributed, the country risked losing the battle against HIV/AIDS.
“The real damage that might be on the market now, in the lives of people is that, the condom serves three purposes, basically. I mean that a condom prevents HIV, STIs and a condom prevents unplanned pregnancies in the case of women, and the fact that this product has been on the market, it means the consumers are exposed to this triple tragedy of having to suffer HIV infection, STIs and pregnancies in some cases. So, we will have a tough time to correct and control the damage that has been caused. HIV is won and lost primarily on the basis of behaviour change. So, if people begin to doubt the efficacy of the preventive tools and commodities like condoms then we are risking losing the battle. This epidemic can get us again,” said Mwiinga.
“Just like everybody else, we are equally concerned about this discovery of the defective consignment of condoms and, particularly so, that we are a government agency that is mandated to coordinate the HIV/AIDS response. So, obviously, our concern is much higher than that of the rest of the stakeholders for the simple reason that we are the agency that is mandated to drive the response. Secondly, condoms are what we term as one of the high impact interventions of reducing further spread of the virus. So, obviously, this is a huge setback that one of the most dependable and evidence-based high impact interventions has been allowed to have defects. The other reason that we are concerned about the emergence of this issue is that we now are fearing that the trust consumers may have had in this commodity is going to be eroded believing that maybe every other condom out there on the market might also have shortcomings when that may not be so. So, we are generally concerned.”