Africa is facing a looming shortage of condoms due to the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 70,000 people worldwide.
Condoms have largely been well patronized in Africa to control the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The contraceptives also help in family planning for families but with the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations has expressed worry about the impact on fighting other diseases.
Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, condoms have always been in high demand in Africa as well as used for humanitarian programs.
The UN Population Fund has said that it currently gets about 50-60 percent of its usual condom supplies due to virus-related disruptions.
In March the UN agency said in a briefing paper that the limited supply of contraceptives “could have life-threatening consequences and reverse recent gains to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health.”
The UN agency also revealed that “A shortage of condoms, or any contraceptive, could lead to an increase in unintended pregnancies, with potentially devastating health and social consequences for adolescent girls, women and their partners and families.”
Malaysia is a leading country when it comes to production of condoms but with an imposition of a lockdown since March, production of condoms has been affected.
Malaysian contraceptive giant Karex makes majority of condoms used globally and says with the lockdown has affected production as it is only able to produce only about 200 million or fewer condoms between March and April.
Karex chief executive Goh Miah Kiat is quoted by the AFP as saying that “The world will definitely see a condom shortage”.
He adds that “It’s challenging, but we are trying our best right now to do whatever we can. It is definitely a major concern — condom is an essential medical device.
“While we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also other serious issues that we need to look at.”
Kiat is particularly worried about supplies of condoms to developing countries including Africa.
Shortages according to Kiat could last months even after the lockdown in Malaysia on April 14.