Denying the poor condoms

11 April 2017 | Opinion

Last week, the NBC reported on young men from a remote village in the Kavango West Region, highlighting their daily struggles in acquiring contraceptives such as condoms. Contraceptives are a sexual reproductive right, and Namibia is a country that is battling the scourge of HIV/Aids and child birth to those who are unwilling to have children.

These young men have indicated their willingness to condomise, but factors beyond their control won't allow it.

The gentlemen argued that there was simply a lack of condoms in their community, which places them at higher risk of contracting STDs, considering that they are highly sexually active.

Although many organisations and authorities working on HIV/Aids related programmes still stand by the fact that abstinence is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections, it has been proven over the years that condom use is an important tool in preventing the spread of HIV.

The situation in Kavango West also goes to show how sexualised our society has become, so much so that people will have sex, with or without a condom. It's no secret that boys and girls as young as 16 years old are sexually active.

That is the honest truth. And we should continue to invest in efforts to discourage early sex. Still, we can't stop it, that is autonomy.

We need to provide men and women with an option to protect themselves, an option to have safe sex, an option to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

But we seemingly continue to fail our rural citizens in providing these options.

It is easy to say that men who don't have condoms at the time should just not have sex and that it is an individual choice, but a nation as fragile as ours, when it comes to the health of its citizens, shouldn't have that kind of luxury.

It is not all doom and gloom.

There has been significant wins in terms of public healthcare even though the challenges persist to this day.

Surely we can't bring healthcare centres to people overnight, but condoms? The authorities should be able to deliver that in an instant.

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