Bulawayo is grappling with an acute shortage of condoms which has resulted in some people selling a pack of the protective gear for US$5.
A snap survey showed that pharmacies and supermarkets did not have the much sought after ‘weapon’. Most supermarkets were laden with ‘less fancy’ condoms which are not favoured by men as they believe are ‘of poor quality’.
The imported brands which usually range from US$2 to US$5 were nowhere in sight while other brands which go for much less and free at some outlets were the only visible ones. Workers at pharmacies and supermarkets claimed that they had gone for weeks without receiving supplies.
“It’s been quite a while since we last received stock. I don’t know what is happened. As you can see we only have these and they are running out too,” said a worker at a supermarket in city centre. An employee at one of Bulawayo pharmacies said the shortage had reached a summit.
“This thing has to be looked at as a matter of urgency because most people prefer the imported brands compared to others. I believe that the health of people is at stake,” he said. The survey also revealed that some unscrupulous people had taken advantage of the shortage and hiked prices.
“After realising that where I used to buy condoms, they were failing to restock, I drove around the city looking for them but to no avail. A friend later introduced me to a guy who was selling them for US$5 and the price has almost been doubled. It is nonsensical,” said one Bulawayo man.
However, unconfirmed reports said a haulage truck loaded with the much needed condoms has been held up at Beitbridge Border Post for the past few weeks over paper work irregularities. H Metro