EDITOR – I AM horrified by the hiking of prices of the male condoms which have seen the retail price of the contraceptive going up by over 100 percent.
The move will disenfranchise ordinary citizens who are already struggling to make ends meet and fears abound that the country will witness a spike in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as HIV spread.
In supermarkets, consumers are buying a three-pack packet of a common brand of male condoms for $6.
Before the sharp increase, this common brand, which comes in various flavours, including strawberry, banana and vanilla, was selling for between $2 and $3 in most retail outlets around the country.
In a country where prices of everything has been going up, it is no surprise that the condom prices have also followed suit.
Meanwhile, a report on the serious shortage of condoms and contraceptives in Zvimba District and other areas in Mashonaland West has fuelled concerns of unwanted pregnancies and STIs.
It is said, for the past few months, many areas in the district have gone without male condoms and contraceptives, which are all key in stemming the spread of STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
Authorities should move to mobilise condoms and contraceptives from other provinces.
Worst affected are growth points, where a sizeable population meet for fun and pleasure.
It appears contraceptive shortages have become a national challenge, with several areas around the country experiencing similar problems.
In April this year, public health institutions in Matabeleland North and South provinces ran out of contraceptives, leaving most women stranded because they could not afford the high prices charged by private pharmacies.
There have been claims that a shipment carrying the contraceptives was damaged while on its way from India last year and so they had to wait for another consignment.
It is disappointing that sexual reproductive health rights are under threat yet Zimbabwe has made tremendous progress in addressing family planning challenges and gaps.