Kigungu fishermen worried over condom scarcity

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Kigungu fishermen worried over condom scarcity
Kigungu landing site fishermen receive condoms from Family Medical Point officials.

Fishermen at Kigungu in Wakiso district have raised concern over the scarcity of condoms at the landing site.

Speaking during a community outreach by Family Medical Point, a not-for-profit organization that advocates, promotes and provides rights-based comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to young people, women, sexual minorities, marginalized and hard to reach and forgotten communities, the fishermen said sex workers in the area pick condoms from health facilities and sell them at a higher price to members of the public at the landing site.

“These sex workers pick the condoms from health centres and other public places that they later bring to sell to members of the public at exorbitant prices. For example one condom can be sold between shs 5000 and shs10,000. This makes it difficult for us to buy them but also, matters are made worse when we go to the health centres and we don’t find these condoms after being picked by the health workers,” Rober Mukisa, a fisherman said.

The fishermen said this is the state of affairs at the entire landing site, many of them saying that they end up having unprotected sex with sex workers since they cant pay up to shs10,000 for condoms.

The village health teams at the landing site however condemned the sex workers for this state of affairs that they said risks seeing an increase in the spread of HIV/ AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases since fishermen resort to having unprotected sex.

Speaking during the outreach, Enock Chedikol, a clinician with Family Medical Point said the HIV prevalence at the landing site is high.

He revealed that 40% of all people tested are positive with HIV.

“Landing sites are always a hiding place for a lot of people and therefore, a lot of sex activities take place. This accounts for the high rates of HIV at Kigungu landing site,”Chedikol said.

He noted that despite the HIV rate being high, accessing services by fishermen is also a big toll exacerbated by sex workers who sell condoms that are ordinarily given out free of charge by government.

“The biggest population is that most of the fishermen don’t get condoms and those who get them decide to sell them at a high cost. According to the tests done, around 40 percent of the population in Kigungu have HIV/ AIDS.”

According to Polyne Nabwire, the head of programs and communication at  Family Medical Point, they use such outreach programs to enhance access to life saving healthcare services, particularly comprehensive SRH services among minorities, key populations, marginalized communities and young people, empower women and girls and promote school-wide health.

“During such outreaches, we provide free consultation which aligns with our goal to improve healthcare accessibility but also removing financial barriers which enables community members to  easily seek professional medical advice, creating a culture of preventive healthcare and early intervention,”Nabwire said.

She noted that during such programs, they also offer free family planning, HIV testing and counseling services to members of the public.

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