Fans heading to the World Rally Championship in Naivasha have been urged to carry extra packets of condoms in case they need to use them.
Condom distributors have warned of a shortage of free condoms which are usually purchased and distributed by the government.
And now some non-governmental organizations have helped save the day for rally enthusiasts who will attend the three-day event in Naivasha.
“We only have 10,000 condoms which have been purchased by our partners as at the moment there are no free ones which are usually given out for free by the government,” said Stanley Ngara, CEO of King’s Condom’s Promotion.
Ngara however said that together with his team, they are in Naivasha to sensitize young people on the dangers of unprotected sex during such events.
“We approach the young girls to educate them and distribute the available condoms in collaboration with AHF Kenya who purchased the protective equipment,” Ngara explained.
“If the demand will be high, we will be forced to increase the number of condoms for Saturday and the culmination of the event on Sunday,” he added.
Unlike the free condoms that are usually provided by the government, Ngara said the ones they distribute are of good quality and a packet costs only Sh50.
He attributed the shortage of condoms to high taxes imposed by the government, but expressed concern that if the problem was not addressed, there would be an increase in HIV cases, teenage pregnancies and an uncontrolled population.
“The government has procured the condoms itself, while some NGOs are procuring them themselves to supplement what is available because the demand is so high,” Ngara noted.
Ngara has been providing free sheaths to men and sex workers in the country for over 20 years. He says the situation requires urgent discussion.
“Not so long ago an NGO bought condoms worth 10 million shillings but the taxes were almost double the amount but their aim is to top up what the government is giving away for free,” he noted.
When the country encounters such challenges, many people who do not have access to condoms are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
“The government distributes free ARVs, but it puts people at risk. The high taxes that are imposed on protective equipment will come to haunt the government,” Ngara added.
A recent audit revealed that around 1.1 million condoms, 908,000 mosquito nets and tuberculosis drugs worth $91,000 (83,000 euros) had gone missing from the state-owned Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA ) and had been resold on the black market to private pharmacies.
At last year’s World Rally Championships held in Naivasha, more than 120,000 condoms were distributed to youngsters and Safari rally enthusiasts who thronged the venue for the three-day event.
“We wanted them to have safe sex after a night of partying,” he added. The three-day event brought together hundreds of Safari Rally fans from different cities.
In February, Karex, the world’s largest condom maker, reported that business had become financially weak amid the coronavirus pandemic, with sales falling 40% over the past two years.