They are easily accessible and can even be gotten for free but the verdict is that most Malawians are shunning their use.
Malawi recorded 260,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in 2016, raising concerns over consistency of condom use by people in the country.
The data was revealed Friday during the launch of a new National Condom Strategy and revised Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Management Guidelines at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
Statistics show that only four condoms are used per person per year in Malawi hence the new condom strategy has been introduced to encourage condom use among sexually active Malawians.
Speaking when he launched the two documents, Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi said the new strategies will help government guide the coordination and policy direction in the fight against STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies.
He added that it is important to get more people informed about the benefits of using condoms as the best line of defence against STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies especially on the adolescence girls who are sexually active.
“I think it is extremely important we should have this conversation especially amongst young people who are sexually active because they need protection.
“That why we felt it was extremely important to improve in terms of disseminating the importance of making sure that those of us that are sexually active are using condoms to protect ourselves against STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies,” the minister explained.
Muluzi also encouraged traditional and faith leaders to join the condom conversation saying there are lessons to be learnt from other countries which have realized the importance of advocating condom use.
Director in the department of HIV and Aids in Ministry of Health Rose Nyirenda said the last condom strategy ended in 2013 and there was need to have a new one so as to promote condom use.
“We observed that we were having challenges in terms of people accessing condoms. So we needed to strategize on how best we can make condoms (available) in the public and private sector, for people living in both urban and rural settings,” she said.
She added that the revised STIs management guidelines have addressed emergence of anti-microbial resistance and new infections that previously were not there such as infections in the anal rectal area.