, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The controversial Weka Condom Mpangoni campaign has been the talk of town ever since the advert started airing on TV stations in Kenya.
The church, which came out strongly against the advert, maintains that the campaign promotes immorality and does not address the main problem behind infidelity in marriages.
On the other hand, The National Aids and STI Control Program (NASCOP – The government agency behind the campaign) says research shows that newly HIV infected people are in marriages and with the failure of other campaigns which focused on abstinence and faithfulness, “we should not bury our heads in the sand.”
Appearing on the Talk 360 talk show on Capital FM Sunday, the NASCOP Deputy Head Peter Cherotich said that half of all new HIV infections happen within marriage and that’s how they came up with the campaign.
“Half of men in their lifetime have more than one sexual partner. On the other hand, a third of women in their lifetime have more than one sexual partner hence the rise of infections in marriages and these are the people we really need to save,” Cherotich said.
He said that according to an evaluation NASCOP did last year, the former campaigns Fanya Hesabu and Wachana na Mpango wa Kando were not successful in reducing infidelity in marriages.
“Probability of getting infected by your partner is higher than probability of getting infected by a prostitute and it’s not only the men who cheat. Women also have relationships outside marriages,” he explained.
He further clarified that everyone has a role in fighting HIV infections. Churches should uphold building and maintaining the institution of marriage and NASCOP can take care of the unbelievers.
“The church is dealing with infidelity issues every Sunday. We are trying to compliment whatever they are doing by helping the hard-hearted people in church.”
On its part, the church says that the advertisement does not address the morality question, and there wasn’t an alignment with other agencies.
Representing the church on the Capital FM talk show, Mavuno Church Pastor Kyama Mugambi said that if agencies come together and agree to send one message it will be more effective.
Mugambi said that the advert was trying to resolve the infidelity issue with the use of a condom. “The advertisement should ensure that no one in a committed relationship is unfaithful.”
“People who are trained to walk in the way of truth are much more likely to be faithful. Even people who have been unfaithful and are retrained… they get to be faithful in their relationships, and that’s what we are looking for,” he added.
Mugambi and Cherotich concluded that working together with all stakeholders – who include religious leaders – will help create a great advert that will be more effective and efficient.
The advert has been suspended due to protests by some religious leaders and a meeting is set tomorrow by the National Aids Control Council to deal with the issue that arose.