There is a shortage of condoms in Kisumu.
Only 5,000 government-provided condoms are available in Kisumu as the county hosts one of its biggest gatherings ever, the ninth AfriCities conference that starts today.
Customers will have to part with at least $1 (Sh100) for one condom from the shops.
Revellers and guests have been advised not to expect to find government-provided condoms in dispensers located across the county.
While condoms are an effective method of birth control, they also protect wearers against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Kisumu County officials and players in the health sector confirmed the shortage of condoms, asking guests and locals to take precautions.
Mr Erick Okioma, a TB and HIV champion running the Nelson Mandela TB HIV Community Based Organisation in Nyalenda, lamented that the shortage could expose the public to STIs.
“We are among counties with the highest HIV prevalence in the country and therefore the need for protection at all costs. This shortage just exposes the already vulnerable groups,” said Mr Okioma.
The 58-year-old man is popularly known as “Kisumu Condom Man” because he distributed the sheaths religiously in the city. He believes this is the surest way to address chronic sexually transmitted infections, HIV prevention and early or unplanned pregnancies.
He said guests and revellers should be advised to buy condoms over the counter.
Dr Fred Oluoch, the Kisumu director of public health and sanitation, told the Sunday Nation that only 5,000 condoms had been distributed to various sections of the city.
“We have a shortage and the few available condoms have been distributed to hospitals and drop-in centres where key vulnerable populations can access them,” Dr Oluoch said.
Some were distributed to colleges and universities around the city, he said.
He said some condoms would be distributed to the venue of the conference and that the county is expecting more supplies at the end of the month.
“We will distribute some condoms in the toilet dispensers at the summit’s venue in Mamboleo for the guests but we call upon the public to also protect themselves by purchasing the important commodity in shops,” said Dr Oluoch.
Kisumu’s famed red light district of Kondele is located 500 metres from the venue of the conference.
The five-day meeting is expected to bring in billions of shillings in revenues, and commercial sex workers would want to take a cut of the money.
Organisers have also set aside the renovated Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Ground as an entertainment spot for guests who want to have some fun.
“We will have the Kisumu AfriCities village in town where the guests will have a taste of local culture, food and music since there are many artistes lined up to perform,” said Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.
Mr Bob Onyona, proprietor of the Alleyways Beer Garden, told the Nation that the club was adding more seats.
Tents will also be set up outside the club and more security personnel will be hired to serve the expected higher number of guests.
“We are also adding the number of waiters to ensure efficient fast service, two other cash bars for quick access to our clients’ favourite drinks and of course increased by double our stock of both food and drinks in readiness of the guests,” said Mr Onyona.
The club has also included in its menu traditional meals that will give visitors a taste of the lakeside delicacies.
“We [are ready with] our lakeside cuisine, which includes the best tilapia in the world and the amazing meat platters prepared by the outstanding Chef Bhakita,” said Mr Onyona, whose popular club is located at the heart of Kisumu city.
Mr Kennedy Ang’wen, owner of Club da Place, popularly known as Chinatown and is located barely 200 metres from the venue of the conference in Mamboleo, is ready for the guests.
“We are up to the task, because we have been handling such crowds every week. We assure revellers of maximum fun and security as well as performances from various guest artistes from across the country,” Mr Ang’wen said.