Uganda recalls four million condoms with holes as 800 million more are needed to fight HIV/AIDS

November 19, 2019 at 07:30 am | News

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

November 19, 2019 at 07:30 am | News

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Image credit Russell Watkins via DFID Flickr.

Uganda has ordered a recall of two batches of condoms distributed by Marie Stopes Uganda, a non-governmental organization, that offers reproductive health services.

“While the Life Guard brand follows strict quality controls, unfortunately, two recent batches have fallen short from the quality we demand,” Dr. Carole Sekimpi, Country Director at Marie Stopes, said in a statement.

It is estimated that some four million condoms will be affected by the recall.

According to the National Drug Authority (NDA), tests ran showed that the condoms with a March and April 2024 expiry date were not free from “holes and burst properties.”

Marie Stopes Uganda had been given two weeks to submit a recall status report “indicating the details of distribution and the clients that have been notified of the recall,” Victoria Nambasa, NDA’s product safety officer said.

A monitoring team had already been dispatched in the field to ensure compliance of the recall directive, the NDA said.

“The process is on and we are working with the distributors of the condoms to make sure that the affected batches are off the market,” the Daily Monitor quoted Fred Ssekyana, NDA’s Public Relations officer as saying.

Officials at Marie Stopes say they had begun the recall process and it should be completed soon. 

An estimated 800 million condoms are needed to protect Ugandans from unplanned pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to data from the Ugandan Ministry of Health.

Earlier this year, Kenyan authorities destroyed condoms worth Sh10 million ($100,000) for failing to meet quality standards.

The male latex condoms from Fiesta brand were found to contain holes and of unreliable thickness, said the country’s drug regulatory authority, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).

The Fiesta brand of condoms had earlier been flagged by the Health Ministry for being substandard and recalled from the market.

“The recall of the affected batches of the fiesta condoms was concluded on 11th March 2019 upon which PPB directed the market authorization holder to carry out destruction of the recalled consignment under PPB supervision”, said a statement from the PPB.

Meanwhile, last month 30 million condoms were imported into Tanzania to curb shortage following reports that some guest houses in Dar es Salam, Tanzania’s commercial nerve and tourism hub no longer give out free condoms partly because they are scarce, making them expensive on the market.

“Some shops are selling condoms for 3,000 Tanzanian shillings ($1; £0.78), 5,000 or 10,000 Tanzanian shillings – depending on the brand. Customers must now have their condoms because we can’t afford to give them out for free,” a hotel worker told BBC Swahili.

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