Condom day: Sadly they do not pass muster at all!

Kathmandu, November 1:

As the country is preparing to mark the Condom Day on Saturday, questions are being raised about the quality of condoms available in the market, which is awash with dozens of brands.

There are at least 40 different brands of condoms available in the market. They are available in different quality and their cost ranges from Rs 1 to Rs 120 apiece. Although the companies marketing these condoms claim their products are featured to offer more pleasure and safety, there is no quality checking mechanism, experts say.

“The government has not even categorised condoms whether they are medicines or other commodities,” said KV Rayamajhi, managing director of the Nepal Contraceptive Retail Sales (CRS) Company.

Besides the quality of condoms also depends on storage and handling.

In Nepal, males often carry them in their wallets, which is not safe.

With the initiative of the Nepal Red Cross Society, Nepal CRS Company convinced the retailers into selling condoms like any other commodity for profit. “We wanted condoms to be available everywhere,” Rayamajhi said.

In a society, where sex is still a taboo, it was not easy to win over people’s confidence. But things have changed now. According to Rayamajhi, 50 million condoms are demanded in Nepal annually. The sale of condoms, however, is only about 41.5 million. The government distributes about 20 million condoms whereas Nepal CRS Company sells about 15 million pieces and about 5 million condoms are sold through different NGOs.

According to a Nepal Demographic Health Survey report, the number of condom using male population in 1996 was only 1 per cent.

The number rose to 3 per cent in 2001 and 5 per cent in 2006. The report also states that around 44 per cent couples use contraceptives for birth spacing. Condoms were initially used for birth spacing but not any more. They are also used for safe sex.