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100,000 condoms distributed in Turkana

TURKANA, Kenya, Apr 15 – The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation through the National AIDS/STD Control Programme (NASCOP) has donated 100,000 condoms to Turkana County.

The consignment was dispatched to Lodwar town by Populations Services International Kenya (PSI/Kenya), early this week.

Turkana Central Medical Officer of Health, Dr Gilchrist Lokoel, who received the consignment of condoms from the PSI/Kenya Communications Manager, Titus Mung\’ou, oversaw the distribution to some community based organisations and residents in Lodwar  who attended a public meeting on Wednesday.

The condoms are expected to serve all districts in the larger Turkana County including the Kakuma refugee camp.

Recent media reports had indicated that the area was facing an acute shortage of condoms, a situation that had forced some residents to re-use the condoms.

Dr Lokoel urged the residents to visit health facilities in the county to receive the condoms and other services targeting to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, which he said was at an alarming rate.

He noted that there was an increase in the spread of HIV infections in Turkana County where 4,300 people infected with the virus have been placed on anti-retroviral drugs at various health centres in the county.

However, thousands of others in remote areas, often hit by a wave of disasters and conflicts, cannot access health facilities and the services, a situation the MOH said calls for enhanced support from all stakeholders.

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Campaigns on voluntary medical male circumcision have also been intensified in the county, with the Lodwar District Hospital attending to 20-30 men seeking the cut, every week.

Dr Lokoel said through the support from the Nyanza Reproductive Health Programme, some 300 men have been circumcised at the district hospital this year alone.

The hospital is now fully booked until July this year by men who are yet to undergo the cut. This is credited to sensitisation campaigns that have encouraged the youth and married men to accept the \’alien\’ practice which the MOH said reduces the chances of HIV infection in men by about 60 per cent.

While some parts of Turkana County have been facing a shortage of condoms, the MOH observed that there was low condom use in some villages mainly due to the low level of education and awareness, remoteness and poverty.

The most affected towns are Kainuk, Lokichar, Lodwar, Kakuma, and Lokichogio which dot the major road linking Kenya to the neighbouring Southern Sudan.

The PSI/Kenya\’s Communications Manager called on the residents to adhere to behaviour change messages disseminated across the region and to utilise the HIV/AIDS services brought closer to them.

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