Ghana is facing a major public health issue after condoms supplied to the country’s health service were found to contain holes and burst easily.
More than 1m “Be Safe” condoms have been impounded by the country’s food and drugs authority (FDA), which said they were also too small and not adequately lubricated.
When the condoms were tested, they were found to be of poor quality, burst in the course of sexual activity, and have holes which exposes the users to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
The FDA is recalling all Be Safe condoms on the market, and said it does not yet know how many have already been distributed. It is standard practice to conduct safety tests on condoms, many of which are imported from China.
According to the FDA, the faulty Be Safe consignment was imported by Global Unilink Ltd, a Ghanaian company, which had sourced them from an Indian company named Harley Ltd based in Kenya. The condoms were traced back to the original manufacturer, Henan Xibei Latex Company Limited, in Henan province, central China.
This is a huge problem. There will be a lot of unintended pregnancies which will contribute to maternal mortality and unsafe abortion. Commercial sex workers also use these products so the consequences could be enormous in terms of the spread of HIV.
The companies involved in importing the condoms were not available to comment. But Be Safe condoms are reported to be widely used in Ghana, where they are distributed by state-run health centres. Previous batches are understood to have passed safety tests.This is not the first scare surrounding condoms in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, South Africa recalled more than 1m faulty ANC condoms, which the ruling party had given away.