Press Release

UNFPA To Replace Condoms Shipped To Tanzania

11 May 2002
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will replace a shipment of condoms intended for use in Tanzania, after a laboratory in the United States found defects in samples submitted for testing. The condoms, none of which have been released from storage in Tanzania, will be returned to the manufacturer.

UNFPA buys condoms for family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention for countries and organizations all over the world. The Fund contracts only for condoms that conform to international standards. The normal process for condoms is to put them through rigorous testing before they are bought for shipment.

This consignment was purchased from a manufacturer in Qingdao, China, contingent upon independent testing. The manufacturer has been certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its products in the United States. The condoms in question were then tested at a laboratory in Singapore, under a contractual agreement, and approved for purchase and shipment.

Samples from the consignment were tested in Tanzania and found faulty. When the Government alerted the Fund, it sent some condoms from the consignment for testing at the Family Health International laboratory in the United States, which found three out of 23 batches defective. As a result, the UNFPA is withdrawing and returning the entire shipment of condoms, and replacing them as soon as possible.

Following the tests, the Fund will investigate both the supplier and the Singapore testing laboratory, and will accept bids from neither in the interim.

UNFPA has been the largest international supplier of condoms to developing countries for the past 30 years. The Fund frequently supplies condoms on behalf of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Bank and other donors such as the British, Dutch and Canadian Governments.

To ensure the quality of the condoms it buys, the Fund strictly follows procedures prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). These include pre-qualification of interested manufacturers to remove weak suppliers from the bidding process and batch-by-batch quality testing according to WHO specifications.

The Fund is the world's largest multilateral source of population assistance. Since it became operational in 1969, it has provided some $5.6 billion to developing countries to help solve population problems, meet reproductive health needs and support development efforts.

Contact Information:

Kristin Hetle
Tel.: +1 212-297-5020
Email: hetle@unfpa.org

William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446
Email: ryanw@unfpa.org

Abubakar Dungus
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031
Email: dungus@unfpa.org

Tanzania, United Republic of
Population : 59.7 mil
Fertility rate
4.8
Maternal Mortality Ratio
524
Contraceptives prevalence rate
36
Population aged 10-24
32.4%
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 26%
Girls 27%

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