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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 17
Ghana seizes millions of defective condoms
Section One
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Ghana seizes millions of defective condoms

Lack of testing exposed many to risk of STDs, pregnancy

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Ghana's government has seized more than 110 million defective condoms from an HIV/AIDS prevention campaign that was distributing them in the country.

In an announcement on April 19, Ghana's Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) said the Chinese-made condoms had been tested in a laboratory, but not before they had been released for distribution.

'There are holes in them and ... the condoms burst easily,' FDA spokesperson Thomas Amedzro told the BBC.

'You may not be able to see the holes with your naked eye but when you look at it under the microscope you can see holes,' he said.

The condoms are also not adequately lubricated, the FDA said.

Amedzro said that condoms are supposed to be lab-tested before they are released for distribution, but that did not happen in this case.

'Somehow there was a lapse - the batches of the condoms were not submitted as duly required for the appropriate testing to be conducted,' he said on the BBC's Focus on Africa program.

Anybody using them could be 'exposed to sexually transmitted infections or be saddled with unwanted pregnancies,' Amedzro warned.

PUBLIC WARNING ISSUED
The FDA has sent out a nationwide alert describing the packaging and warning people not to use the condoms.

'Since the alert went out, a number of individuals and organizations have already reported to us that they have stocks, which we are already retrieving,' Amedzro said.

The Ghana Health Service accepted delivery of the condoms in February this year, the BBC reports, but they arrived in the country in the last quarter of 2012. Authorities believe about 200 million of the faulty condoms were imported into the country.

According to U.N. figures, an estimated 230,000 people in Ghana are living with HIV, out of a total population of 25 million. The country's anti-HIV/AIDS effort is widely regarded as among the most successful in Africa.

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