By Marvelous Moyo
GWANDA – Efforts to rebrand the Panther “DeMbare” condoms are underway to attract more users and help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
The development came to light during the Matabeleland South provincial meeting held in Gwanda Town last week. The event was organised by the National Aids Council (NAC).
The meeting heard that the use of the Panther condoms, packaged in blue and white, is being shunned by most youths who are sexually active.
It is said that most youths are reluctant to use the “DeMbare” condoms because they are given for free hence the perception that they are of poor quality.
According to some participants who attended the meeting, some youths have indicated that the condoms have an unpleasant smell.
The provincial Aids coordinator, Isaia Abureni, said concerns about the Panther condoms were being handled at national level. He said attempts were being made to repackage the condoms so that they become more attractive to users.
“It’s been noted at national level and attempts are being made to repackage the condoms so that they become more attractive. “We hope after repackaging more people will use the condoms,” Abureni said. Beitbridge NAC officer Edward Mulaudzi said some people who were given the Panther condoms were just throwing them away.
“Most youths say they prefer the Protector Plus. We’ve tried to market the product but people aren’t interested,” he said.
An officer from the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council said it was unfortunate that people had a negative perception of the Panther condoms yet they are very effective.
“We hope 2016 is going to be a new beginning. They’re rebranding the Panther as we speak. The government wants everyone to access the product that’s why it’s being given for free,” said the ZNFPC officer.
However, some proposed that after rebranding, the product should be sold at a low price as people usually have a negative attitude towards condoms given for free.
In the third quarter of this year, Matabeleland South province distributed a total of 890,360 condoms. The Chronicle