Parliament’s Health and Wellness Committee chairperson Maggie Chinsinga has said the House dispenses about 10 000 condoms every month.
Speaking yesterday after receiving on behalf of Parliament a donation of 206 000 condoms from Aids Health Foundation (AHF), Chinsinga, who is also Parliament’s head of administration, said the condoms are used by members of Parliament (MPs) and visitors who access lavatories in the Parliament Building where they are strategically placed.
She said: “We host people of very diverse age groups, most of whom are sexually active and it is our responsibility to protect them. There are times when we ran out of stock. As such, condoms, as an HIV and Aids preventive measure, is a very welcome idea.”
There are 193 MPs, some of whom visit the National Assembly with support staff, while Parliament’s secretariat has about 230 staff members.
On her part, AHF country manager Triza Hara said the donation to Parliament was part of a bigger condom donation exercise through which the organisation has reached out to four project implementation districts.
She said the institution has branded the condoms for easy acceptance by the youth.
Said Hara: “By donating, we want to ensure that those who work here, including parliamentarians, have this option of HIV prevention, thereby reducing new HIV infections.”
She said AHF has four programme areas of HIV prevention, care and treatment; policy and advocacy; and health systems strengthening.
Hara added that currently the organisation is supporting 19 health facilities in Lilongwe, Dedza, Ntcheu and Chikwawa.
According to Chinsinga, in the past, Parliament was getting its condom supplies from the Lilongwe District Health Office but later Partners in Hope took over and has been supplying them ever since.
She said the new partnership with AHF is more sustainable because the organisation has factored Parliament into their financial budget.
This committee, apart from HIV and Aids, also provides support on communicable and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.