NEWS about the seizure of 330 boxes of counterfeit condoms in Dar es Salaam by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) is very disturbing.
But spine chilling is the report that some condoms similar to the impounded brand - 'Melt Me'- are already in the local market meaning that this was not the first time that the substandard protective gear has found its way into the country and in the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
'Melt Me' condoms failed TBS lab tests thus can't serve the intended protection purpose. No one knows for sure how huge the previous consignments were, for how long this business has been going on and how many people have fallen victims of the dirty trade.
Extremely frightening is the revelation that one of the areas where 'Melt Me' condoms have been circulating is Mabibo Hostel which is the home to a large number of University of Dar es Salaam students. The substandard condoms were also found being sold at one pharmacy at Manzese, a densely populated area.
This sad news has come at a time when the country is still grappling with the HIV/Aids scourge. It is a known fact that condoms are widely used in efforts to combat and prevent sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
Dumping them into the local market is therefore a major setback in efforts to tame the spread of the deadly disease which so far has no cure.
It is our hope that TBS will go further and act promptly to ensure not only the impounded consignment is re-exported to country of origin, India, but also all the items previously dumped in the local market are rounded up and removed from circulation while the traders and other people involved in smuggling them into the country are dealt with accordingly.
There is also a need for relevant authorities to enhance public awareness on the importance of using products that have been approved by the standards body - TBS. People should be reminded, unceasingly, on certified condom brands which at present are Salama, Salama bomba, Dume and Blue Denin.