By Anso Thom

The SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) has commissioned additional compliance testing equipment and staff in an effort to address the growing backlog of condoms being tested prior to distribution in the country.

Despite increasing reports of clinics running out of condoms, Eva Gosa of the National AIDS Directorate said they had received no reports of any of the 140 delivery sites being out of stock

She said the health department was delivering to the 140 sites, which in turn delivered to the other outlets such as clinics.

“We are only informed when the delivery site is out of stock, not when the clinics don’€™t have stock as they communicate directly with the delivery sites,” said Gosa.

She confirmed that the AIDS directorate had held a series of meetings with the SABS leading to the commissioning of additional testing equipment and an increase in human resource capacity with the addition of a second shift.

Gosa said the department was currently planning the design of a Logistic Management Information System to improve condom distribution and tracking capabilities in the long term.

“We are requesting assistance from donors,” said Gosa. Donors were being called upon to make up for the more than 100-million condoms that would be needed for next year, over and above the more the 250-million condoms requested in the budget.

At this stage the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has promised to donate 100-million condoms.

The department originally proposed 250 million condoms (at a cost of R52,5-million) for this financial year, in accordance with the provinces’€™ requirements, but expert have estimated that South African would need 392 million condoms for the next financial year at a cost of R90-million.

“We hope to have the budget to purchase these condoms,” Gosa said in response to a question on whether the department had budgeted for condoms. ‘€“ Health-e News Service