NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – The government on Tuesday said it had acquired a new machine to test the quality of condoms in the country following the discovery of sub-standard products in Kenya.
National Quality Control Laboratory Director Dr Hezekiah Chepkwony said the Condom Tester Machine could test 1,000 condoms per day.
“It is a state of the art machine bought by UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). It is not easily available in the region. It will test the condom pressure, the size, elasticity, and durability,” he said.
The machine was brought from Australia at a cost of Sh13, 546 224.
Dr Chepkwony disclosed that the government had also procured a similar machine bringing the total to two. However he said the initial machine was under utilised since only 2,000 condoms had been tested since last year.
But he said plans were on course and soon his docket will sign an MOU with Kenya Bureau of Standards to ensure the machines are utilised to meet their capacity.
Following the ban of ‘Hot’ condoms in Kenya, National AIDs/STD Control Programme (NASCOP) Head Dr Nicholas Muraguri said the government would next month decide if the condoms would be destroyed or shipped back to Britain depending on their volume.
He said the brand had been mopped out of the market awaiting investigations even though physical surveillance was still going on in case some sellers had ignored the directive.
He also said the batch of the ‘Hot’ condoms found to be 100 percent ineffective had been in the market since July this year. Dr Muraguri urged the public not to lose confidence in condom use insisting that the Hot condom brand was not widely used.
“We are not condemning all condoms, only Hot condoms which have a very small market share. Condoms are very important for HIV prevention and preventing pregnancy at a level of over 98 percent,” he noted.
He further announced that the government will next month review the Condom Policy to apply more stringent measures that will ensure only quality condoms are made available in the market.
Dr Muraguri further said the government will be conducting regular inspections to lock out any substandard condoms from the market. Condom leakage which has been raised by users was also a concern that raised questions over user perspective.
According to Dr Muraguri, some condom consumers were using them with petroleum based lubricants instead of water based lubricants. “It may relate to issue of quality but more on user perspective, we have a very dangerous trend!” he warned.
“In Nairobi maybe you are using Vaseline, what do they use in the village? maybe cooking fat, or milking jelly. Some people even use oil from vehicles, condoms and petroleum based products do not agree,” he said.
He warned that such lubricants reduce efficacy and protection effect of condoms.