Local traders drawn into ‘condoms wars’
Traders in Taita-Taveta County are up in arms over the government’s decision to ban Salama Condoms from the Kenyan market.
The traders argued that Salama brand, approved for use in the neighboring Tanzania, was a fast moving item unlike Trust Condoms that stay in shop’s shelves for long.
In July, the government through the Ministry of Health raised concerns over the presence of Salama Condoms in the market.
Through Population Service International (PSI), the government warned that the condoms being sold in Kenya might be counterfeit raising the risk of HIV/AIDS infection rate.
But a survey in several shops in Voi town revealed that the banned condoms were still on sale. Interestingly, the traders were aware of the ban but argued that it was not related to any health concern but to stiff competition Salama Condoms is posing on the Kenyan brands.
“Bringing health matters into condom wars is just a ploy to save Trust Condoms from being driven out of the market. Traders preferred selling Salama because it brings profits as compared to Trust Condoms,” Mr. Moses Irare, a trader in Voi town said.
The trader wondered why PSI advocated for use of Salama Condoms in Tanzania while the same was banned in Kenya yet all condoms serve the same purpose.
The proximity of Taita-Taveta County to Tanzania ensures that most shops in the area are stocked with products manufactured in the neighboring country. These products include sweets and confectionery, books, spare parts, farm products and condoms.
When contacted, County Director of Health, Dr. John Logedi, said that he needed to seek more information on the PSI ban before he could respond to the matter.
“I have to seek more information on the matter before I can give a comprehensive report,” Dr Logedi said.