Malawi government authorities have unveiled plans to embark on what is says condomize campaign which seeks to increase condom use among the youths which they say would lead to reduction in the rate of unplanned pregnancies and HIV infection.
Principal Youth Officer in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Deus Lupenga told reporters in Blantyre that the campaign which starts next month (September) follows a study which shows high prevalence rate of HIV infection among the youths.
“The 2010 Malawi Demographic Health Survey indicates that condom use among young people is very low in Malawi. Low condom use among the youth is a major contributing factor to high HIV infection and fertility rates among the youth,” he said.
He said the exercise also aims to increase demand for locally branded condoms from different sources and outlets; strengthen the capacity of stakeholders including the education institutions and the media in creating demand for condoms among young people as well as strengthen networking and collaboration among stakeholders in condom programming.
Lupenga said the campaign will first target the youths in tertiary institutions including the Malawi Polytechnic, Malawi College of Medicine in Blantyre and Mzuzu University in northern Malawi and will later move to other hot spot areas like beer halls.
Director of Youths in the Ministry, Wilfred Lichapa said the campaign will help raise awareness on the youth condoms branded as ‘silver touch condoms’ which are marketed by the Population Service International (PSI).
“We are appealing for active involvement of all relevant stakeholders including the youths themselves for the successes of the campaign,” said Lichapa.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is funding the campaign with USD160, 000 (about K54 million) used in procurement of the silver touch condoms for free distribution during the exercise.