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International News

Namibia Joins the League of Condom Producers in Africa

November 20, 2002

Namibia has become the second country in Africa -- after South Africa -- to start producing condoms to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS. Commodity Exchange, a Namibian-owned firm that began operating Nov. 7, says it aims to make the condoms affordable. Company Director Sabina Maritz said Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia have indicated interest in buying condoms directly from the company. But, she said, the firm will first work toward satisfying the local market before marketing outside Namibia.

Currently CE sells three condoms for 12 US cents, but management expect price fluctuations due to foreign exchange rates, as most raw material is imported from overseas. Other condoms in Namibian pharmacies cost $1-$2, and cheaper brands from South Africa cost about 30 US cents in shops, bars and clubs. CE management says their condoms meet the requirements of the South African Bureau of Standards. Packaging is designed to meet World Health Organization standards.

"The objective of the Namibian government is to increase accessibility, affordability, availability and use of both male and female condoms countrywide," said Dr. Libertine Amathila, Minister of Health and Social Services. Namibia plans to target high-risk groups such as youth, women, the police and army to reduce HIV transmission, said Amathila. Consistent use of either female or male condoms among women ages 15 to 49 was 8.9 percent, according to the 2000 Demographic Health Survey, a figure health authorities say is too low. Around 20 million male condoms are distributed annually in Namibia by the health ministry and non-governmental organizations.

With a population of 1.8 million, there are 230,000 HIV-positive people in Namibia. More than 30,000 died last year from AIDS-related diseases.

Back to other CDC news for November 20, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Inter Press Service
11.15.02; Rosemary Nalisa

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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