By Mable Nakibuuka
The management of Marie Stopes Uganda has revealed that there are no defective Life Guard condoms on the market and that the Ministry of Health approved the Life Guard condoms that are currently in distribution.
According to a statement released by Ms. Faith Kyateka, Head of Communications and Policy at Marie Stopes Uganda, both the Ministry of Health and National Drug Authority (NDA) certified the Life Guard condoms currently being distributed after Marie Stopes changed the manufacturers and procured others who have the capacity to produce the approved quality of condoms.
The statement released on October 2020, which came on the heels of rumours circulating on social media to the effect that there are some defective Life Guard Condoms on the market, reads thus;
“STRONGER, BETTER LIFEGUARD CONDOM RETURNS TO ADDRESS THE NATIONAL CONDOM GAP
The Ministry of Health in partnership with Marie Stopes UG have announced the return of the New and Improved Life Guard condoms, which have been certified by the National Drug Authority (NDA) to address the nationwide shortage of the socially marketed brands.
Dr Charles Olaro, the Director in charge of Curative Services and the Focal Point for Family Planning, Ministry of Health said that; “The new Life Guard condoms are manufactured by Thai Nippon Rubber industries (TNR) a UNFPA prequalified condom manufacturer and meet thehighest international safety standards, complying with ISO 4074, ASTM, and WHO requirements. They are electronically tested for safety and reliability, biocompatibility according ISO 10993 and are subjected to periodic nitrosamine and protein testing.”
The statement continues that; “All condom batches are also subjected to electrolyte water testing for leakage and are tested for burst strength and elasticity using of air inflation testing equipment.”
“Having been certified by the National Drug Authority, we are confident that Lifeguard has met strict quality control measures and is safe for use by Ugandans,” Ms. Kyatika noted.
The estimated annual condom need for socially marketed and commercial condoms in Uganda is 20 million condoms. Lifeguard contributes about 43% of this market.
Dr Olaro reiterated that the withdrawal of Life Guard condoms last year left a huge gap that could potentially undermine Ministry of Health’s efforts to curb the spread of HIV, in line with the Presidential Fast-track Initiative on ending HIV and AIDS in Uganda by 2030.
Dr. Carole Sekimpi, the Country Director of Marie Stopes Uganda said that: “Condoms play a vital role in preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. We are committed to providing products of the highest quality. We have strict quality controls in place and have a World Health Organization pre-qualified laboratory as our quality assurance/quality control partner to ensure that this product meets the strictest national and international standards.”
The new Lifeguard condoms are available in pharmacies, health facilities, supermarkets, and shops countrywide.