• The price of condoms have shot through the roof as a result of the shortage.
  • Early this year, two of Tanzania’s populous regions with a combined population of more than two million were hit by condom shortage raising fears of a possible increase in number of STIs
  • 1 600 000 people were living with HIV in Tanzania as of 2018, according to UNAIDS. 

Tanzania has been hit by a sharp shortage of condoms which is putting the country’s citizen’s health in jeopardy.

So acute is the shortage that some guest houses in the commercial capital and tourism hub, Dar es Salaam, are no longer giving out the contraceptives free of charge.

The price of condoms have also shot through the roof as a result of the shortage.

"Some shops are selling condoms for 3,000 Tanzanian shillings ($1; £0.78), 5,000 or 10,000 Tanzanian shillings - depending on the brand. Customers must now have their own condoms because we can't afford to give them out for free," a hotel worker told BBC Swahili.

Condoms on display in Tanzania (PSI/Tanzania)
Condoms on display in Tanzania (PSI/Tanzania)

Early this year, two of Tanzania’s populous regions Njombe and Shinyala, with a combined population of more than two million people according to a 2012 study, were hit by condom shortage raising fears of a possible increase in number of sexually transmitted infections.

“It is true that there is shortage of condoms, which is attributed to the change of supplying system…However, this signifies that the Tanzanian population are educated enough to use protection,” Tanzania’s deputy Health Minister Faustine Ndugulile said at the time.

Tanzania’s deputy Health Minister Faustine Ndugulile speaking at a past event. (uptymes)
Tanzania’s deputy Health Minister Faustine Ndugulile speaking at a past event. (uptymes)

To curb the shortage, Tanzanian health authorities have now decided to import over 30 million condoms.

"We've ordered over 30 million condoms. What changed was the distribution model; previously there were some agencies distributing the condoms but things have changed and we now have new agencies mandated with distribution. 

What we want to do is ensure the new model works effectively and that awareness campaigns reach those targeted and condoms become available," Mr. Ndugulile said.

A shop owner in Tanzania is all smiles after stocking his shop with some much needed condoms. (PSI)
A shop owner in Tanzania is all smiles after stocking his shop with some much needed condoms. (PSI)

1 600 000 people were living with HIV in Tanzania as of 2018, according to UNAIDS.   

Approximately 81,000 new cases of HIV are reported annually among adults ages 15 to 64 years in Tanzania according to the first survey conducted by the Government of Tanzania under the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) Zanzibar through the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Office of Chief Government Statistician (OCGS) between October 2016 and August 2017 to measure national HIV incidence and viral load suppression.

However, there has been progress in the number of AIDS-related deaths since 2010, with a 49% decrease, from 48 000 deaths to 24 000 deaths. The number of new HIV infections has also decreased, from 83 000 to 72 000 in the same period.