CONDOMS: U.N. Supply Severed in Half, Officials Blame Western Nations
In a "sharp rebuke" against the West, retiring U.N. Population Fund Director Dr. Nafis Sadik on Wednesday said that industrial nations' failure to invest money into world population programs has resulted in a condom shortage in the developing world, Reuters reports. "These are large countries which should be doing a lot more," Sadik said, adding, "The resources are just not there and especially for the products that require foreign exchange. Condom supplies are getting disrupted." Alex Marshall, author of this year's annual U.N. population report, lamented that the United Nations, the world's top condom supplier, would have to cut its distribution in half because of funding shortages. "We're rolling back programs because of it. It's really tragic. It means people are dying," he said. Sadik blasted western nations -- such as the United States, Germany, France, Italy and Japan -- for ignoring their 1994 promise to contribute $5.7 billion to the Population Fund by 2000, noting that developing nations had paid most of their pledged $11.3 billion. "Condom demand is increasing very rapidly all over the world, but particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. We are unable to supply them because of a lack of resources," she concluded (Reuters, 9/20). Some officials say that women in Uganda are "recycling" used condoms by washing them out before using them again (Edwards, National Post, 9/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.