Faced with a decreasing condom uptake in the country because of the tight Covid-19 lockdown, the World Food Program (WFP) and United Nations Fund for Population Agency (UNFPA) have come up with a programme where condoms are now distributed together with food aid.
The free condoms are distributed at all 1 500 food aid distribution points in the country’s 60 districts.
WFP Representative and Country Director Eddie Rowe told The Mirror that thousands of people in the country are failing to access essential health services including condoms because of the lockdown. Condoms in Zimbabwe are normally accessed through beer outlets most of which are now closed.
To get around the problem, the two organisations decided to distribute the condoms at the centres where food aid is given.
Rowe said that it is not just the condoms that many cannot access but other Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and HIV prevention services due to movement restrictions among other issues.
“Food distribution points are deep in the communities, making them easier and more convenient for people to access essential and life-saving SRHR services, including condoms that are key for preventing unintended pregnancies and HIV/STI infection prevention and transmission” said Rowe.
The co-operation between UNFPA and WFP in this programme makes efficient use of resources.
At least 1, 8 million male and 88,000 female condoms have been moved from Natpharm to WFP for onward distribution through food distribution points in 60 districts.
“It is in the spirit of delivering as one UN and maximising on already existing platforms for the benefit and welfare of the general public. This initiative enables efficient use of resources” added Rowe.
The partnership between the two agencies builds on the existing UNFPA, WFP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for supply of food to Maternity Waiting Homes where pregnant women, mainly those at obstetric risk, are housed towards their delivery date at health facilities.
UNFPA Representative Dr Esther Muia said community and village health workers will provide information on SRHR, like Family Practice (FP), STI/HIV, condom usage and Gender Based Violence (GBV) at the food distribution points.
“The arrangement builds on the existing UNFPA and WFP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for supply of food to Maternity Waiting Homes where pregnant women, mainly those at obstetric risk, are housed towards their delivery date at health facilities” said Dr Muia.-mirror