|A customer buys condoms at a shop in Ha Noi. More than a quarter of condoms sold in the country are substandard, a recent study found. — VNS Photo courtesy of afamily.vn
HAI PHONG (VNS) — More than a quarter of the 170 million condoms sold each year in Viet Nam are of substandard quality, according to a study conducted by British company Crown Agents.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said at a workshop last week in Hai Phong that using low-quality condoms would cause serious consequences such as an increase in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.
"It is crucial to identify the responsibilities of national and sub-national authorities in the provision of quality male condoms," he said.
UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam Arthur Erken said that 170 million condoms were imported and distributed via wholesalers and retailers primarily in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, where no quality control mechanisms are in place.
The survey showed that 26 per cent of the 170 million condoms failed to meet international standards (ISO) as well as the technical requirements of World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNFPA.
Crown Agents company Technical Director David Whybrew said at the workshop that a maximum of 5 per cent of substandard condoms was common for international tests.
"To identify such a high level of failure is considered very serious," he said.
The workshop was organised by the General Office for Population Family Planning in co-operation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) — VNS