…as scarcity looms in public hospitals in Cross River.
Price of condom in pharmacies and patent medicine (chemist) shops has skyrocketed by over 100 percent, investigation reveals.
An investigation by a media nonprofit, Godshield Kanjal Journalism Foundation, through its Community Vox Pop Initiative, reveals that between 2022 to 2023, there has been a steep increment in the price of different brands of condoms, about 100% price increment.
A pack of Kiss Condom, which was sold for N100 in January 2022, currently sells for N300 to N400, respectively.
For Gold Circle, a popular brand of condom, a pack which contains three condoms which formally sold for N100, has now increased to N200, and this is applicable to other brands.
Condom is a fine tube rolled onto the penis before sex. It is a barrier to stop sperm and infection passing between sexual partners. It is usually made of rubber.
Condoms are used for vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Dealers say the purchasing price in the market has also increased hence forcing the retail price to skyrocket.
In Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State, 3 pharmacies and 15 patent medicine shops, visited show a 100% price increment of condoms.
This price increment has caused scarcity in public hospitals and Primary Health Centres, as demand surges for free distributed condoms, sponsored by some non governmental organisations (NGOs).
A pharmacy sales representative in Ogoja, who gave his name as Chinedu Alex says the recent increment in the price of condoms has caused low patronage, and this is apparently due to inflation.
According to Chinedu, “condoms and anti biotics used to be the most demanded commodities in my pharmacy, but these days, people no longer demand for it that much.
“We used to sell up to 4 cartons of condoms, per day, before, that’s since last year, but this year, since the price went up, we hardly sell off a single carton in a day.
“Not that people aren’t having sex again, but with the high price of condom and hard economy, many people may have opted to do it raw (having sex without Condom).
“The truth is: the purchasing price from the dealers has increased. It’s not our fault,” he said.
Another patent medicine (chemist) operator, Dan Odey in Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area, corroborated Chinedu, noting that customers have been complaining of the surge in price of condoms.
When GK Journalism Foundation visited the General Hospital Ogoja, a representative who did not want her name mentioned, at the HIV testing and counseling department, said there has been scarcity of free distributed condom since the past six months in the hospital
She maintained that the surge in price of condom in patent medicine shops and pharmacies caused high demand in the government hospitals which is free, making the commodity scarce.
She said: ” since we exhausted the last set six months ago, we haven’t restocked. Demand became high because we distribute it to clients who come for HIV testing.
“There was influx of people coming for HIV testing which after the test we counsel them and give them free condoms, these people were just coming to get free condoms since the cost has increased in the market.
“For now, no NGO has restocked and I fear because many people who can’t afford it may opt for unprotected sex,”.
Risk(s) if they don’t use condom
With the price increment of condom, and hard economy and effect of the hasty fuel subsidy removal, many may choose to have sex without Condom.
Just like every other contraceptive, condom is supposed to be handy, to mitigate the risk of unplanned pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
A medical expert, Lydia Ogbeche said condom is an essential commodity that its cost needs to be subsized.
According to Ogbeche, a retired Community health extension worker: “failure to use condom in an infectious world that we are now is dangerous and I fear for partners who do not know their status, and engage in Unprotected sex.
” Condom is the safest way to curb the spread of HIV, unplanned pregnancy and infections”
“A condom that use to cost 100 naira is now N200 or N300, and look at how things are hard everywhere.
“No matter how things get tough, people will still have sex.
“Lots of these communities, people have sex as they eat food, especially in this rainy season.
“I’m afraid, because some of these villagers who can’t afford Maggi (spice) for their food, is it condom that they can afford?
” Something needs to be done urgently,” she said.
This investigation is sponsored by Godshield Kanjal Journalism Foundation through its “Community Vox pop Initiative: telling the untold stories in hard-to-reach communities”