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Condom shortage unacceptable, MPs say

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – The Parliamentary Health Committee has on Friday urged the government to stop over reliance on development partners for provision of basic commodities like condoms.

The Committee\’s chair Dr Robert Monda termed it unacceptable for the country to have a shortage of condoms.

"As a country we have not been able to provide sufficient funds for the health sector so that we are able to procure condoms as needs arise and therefore the delay by our development partners to provide this has led to a delay in supply of about four weeks," he said.

Dr Monda said the government should explore other options of providing the condoms to Kenyans who need them.

"It is the responsibility of government to ensure the consumables like condoms should be by our own kitty from the consolidated account instead of depending on loans," he stated.

"We were asking the ministries to look for available options of either providing for the condoms locally or change the conditions with those outsiders whom we work with," he added.

Last week, the government admitted that there was a shortage of condoms in the country amid reports of recycling of the commodity by residents of Isiolo.

This forced the government to ask for 45 million emergency condoms from the US President\’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which are expected in the country on April 10.

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The shortage, according to the Ministry of Public Health, had seen an average of eight million Kenyans lose access to condoms and was blamed on procurement bureaucracy and greater demand.

At the same time Dr Monda raised concerns over remarks made by Medical Services Minister Anyang\’ Nyong\’o that Kenyan doctors were not well trained and exposed.

He accused the Minister of raising doubts about the training of medical professionals in the country and said he should instead focus on mending the gaps.

"We know the minister is expected to provide whatever Kenyans need. Where he finds shortcoming in terms of training or exposure of doctors, it is the responsibility of the same minister to ensure that those shortcomings are filled up," he said.

Dr Monda said the committee would in the next two weeks table a report in Parliament on the status of health facilities in the country.

"We have been going round this country as a committee of health, visited various public health facilities and we have assembled a report," he said.

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