Improved condom usage among people on landing sites in Greater Masaka region has excited health authorities. Brenda Kiyingi, the Masaka District Assistant Health Officer announced the development during activities commemorating the International Condom day at Namirembe landing site in Kyanamuka Sub on Monday.
She said condom usage among people on the landing sites in Masaka has increased to over 20 percent from only 8 percent in 2017. Kiyingi noted that a recent survey by Masaka District Health Department shows that over 184,795 male condoms were distributed in the district with the landing sites having a big percentage of users.
Kiyingi attributed the improved condom use to the realization of the public that condom use is the safest way of protecting themselves against sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.
She said they are still struggling with the small number of female condom users in the district. Kiyingi thanked Uganda cares for always stepping in whenever there is a condom stock out in the district.
She said that they have placed condom dispensers in bars, lodges and health units to ensure quick access to condoms for those who need them. Dr. Cecilia Natembo, the Masaka Regional Medical Director Uganda Cares, says the HIV epidemic is still high on landing sites but says they are happy because of the improved condom usage.
She says they are currently promoting a new brand of condoms named icon, which is much better compared to the old brands.
She is optimistic that the new condom brand will improve usage. Jackson Sserwadda, the Chairperson Namirembe Landing Site, says the contact persons and Village Health Team Members have done a good job of sensitizing fishermen about the dangers of unprotected sex.
He says some fishermen who were not using condoms claiming that they are expensive can now easily access them free of charge from various points on the landing site and contact persons attached to Uganda Cares in their fishing villages.
The Masaka Resident District Commissioner, Herman Ssentongo who presided over the celebrations, encouraged members of the public to embrace HIV testing to establish their status. He warned residents against living a reckless lifestyle and live a health life.
The International Condom day was commemorated under the theme “safer love is fun”. It was characterised by various speeches such free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling and exhibitions by HIV service providers.