Effective management of the quality of condoms in Vietnam, especially those being sold in the open market, was the focus of a workshop held in the northern port city of Hai Phong on March 28.

The event was jointly organised by the General Office for Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Public Health and the United Nations Population Fund.

Addressing the event, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien briefed participants on Vietnam’s strong achievements in the population, family planning and sexual health work.

The number of people using contraceptive methods during sex in Vietnam has increased to 76.2 percent from 53.2 percent in 1988. However, condom use is still alarmingly low at 13.6 percent (although it has risen considerably from the 2.2 percent figure recorded in 1988).

The country has spent billions of dong improving access and awareness of birth-control methods, while international partners have provided technical assistance, Tien said.

Recently, the country has been supplying contraceptive devices more widely, but the workshop heard that state management agencies need to more closely monitor quality standards to ensure safety for users.

At present, the number of condoms offered by Government programmes and foreign donors only meets 15 percent of the total demand nationwide, the remaining 85 percent is provided by the free market.

Participants suggested that Vietnam should establish an official mechanism to control the quality of condoms sold by private enterprises, as well as creating closer links between all concerned agencies to prevent violations in the selling of the product.-VNA