February 18, 2000 06:28am
Uganda Facing Condom Shortage
(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- The Ugandan government could run out of condoms by the end of next year as demand for protection against AIDS soars, a newspaper reported Friday.
Demand for condoms in the country will soon reach 90 million per year - a fourfold increase since 1995 - due to increased awareness of AIDS, the government-owned New Vision newspaper said.
``It takes between one and two years to procure condoms. I fear that by the end of next year we may run out because we haven't put a procurement system in place,'' the newspaper quoted Dr. Elizabeth Madra, a government health official, as saying.
An estimated 2 million of Uganda's 23 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But due to an aggressive public education campaign, the country is one of the few in Africa able to boast of a decline in AIDS cases in the past decade.
A group of German and Kenyan investors announced last week plans to build East Africa's first condom factory.
The joint venture between Cologne-based Condomi AG and Kenyan company Olago Enterprises is expected to have an initial capacity to manufacture 100 million condoms per year