Condoms are still the most effective way for preventing STDs and unplanned pregnancies

On February 14 T-MARC Tanzania joined the world to celebrate the International Condom Awareness Day with a call for more advocacy on condom use for effective prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. 

As part of the celebrations, T-MARC Tanzania held a media briefing on the day and its importance. Speaking during the media briefing, T-MARC Tanzania Director of Social Enterprising, Flavian Ngole, said that the day was a time to promote the use of condoms and educate people about the need for practicing safe sex at all times. He was accompanied by the Director of Administration and Logistics, Geraldine Duwe and Sales Manager Larson Chumi. 

“The aim is to get more people comfortable with purchasing, carrying, talking about and using condoms during sexual activity,” he pointed out.  

Consent and voluntary testing are key

With the theme focusing on the importance of consent and testing of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS between partners, the day’s commemoration was held one day before St. Valentine’s Day which is celebrated on 14th February each year.   

“We all know the enthusiasm that comes along the day across the globe. We think it is a good time to promote healthy and safe relationships and reminding people about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. In short, we use the day as a reminder to everyone to always ensure that they practice safe sex,” he said. 

The International Condom Awareness Day is also used to fight against such stigma which is putting the lives of many people including youth and women at high risk. “People should be able to make their free choices and also learn how to use a condom correctly from these places while at the same time having any sexual wellness questions answered in a friendly manner,” emphasized Ms. Duwe.

Partnership with the Government 

T-MARC Tanzania has been working with the Government of Tanzania and other partners to improve public health and the well being of Tanzanians through forming up strong partnerships and programs to ensure them with accessible, affordable and quality services and products. 

Supporting the above Government initiatives in the HIV/AIDS prevention, unwanted pregnancy and controlling sexually transmitted diseases, T-MARC Tanzania through social marketing approach offers various types of condoms in order to widening consumer choices, Dume Classic – Plain no scented condom, Dume DesireRed, strawberry-scented condom, and Dume ExtremeRibbed, Dotted, Mint scented condom and Lady Pepeta Female condom 

We believe together we can successfully support Tanzania in its efforts to improve public health and the well being of all Tanzanians most especially among the vulnerable groups including youth and women. Let’s play our part! 

Social enterprising - the way to go for sustainable services and products

As part of the efforts to ensure sustainability in its service delivery through social enterprising approach, T-MARC Tanzania launched three new products that are already available in the market across the country as from January 15, 2020. 

The new products are Flowless sanitary pads which is special for women, Smiley baby diaper for babies and Harmony adult diaper for the elder people with special medical cases. They are part of T-MARC Tanzania social enterprising drive designed to ensure sustainability of services and products as it serves the larger Tanzanian society. 

T-MARC Tanzania has established a commercial department that deals with social enterprising with the aim of sustainably supporting the community with various quality products and services at a sustainable prices. 

This is in response to the current global trends, in which organizations strive to reduce donor dependency in supporting their service delivery by changing their organizational approaches to ensure sustainability. 

A nod from the Government

The launch event was graced by the Ilala District Commissioner, Hon. Sophia Mjema, and it was held in Dar es Salaam with a number of stakeholders in attendance. 

Speaking at the launch, Hon. Mjema commended T-MARC Tanzania for the new drive calling on other stakeholders to follow the example. 

“Let me seize the opportunity to commend T-MARC Tanzania for the new drive which is a key for sustainability. In the today’s world where donor funding is dwindling it is important that organizations learn how to reduce that dependence. This way they will be sure of reaching out to many people and in a longer period of time for sustained social impact,” she said adding: 

“I thank you for this idea, since you have taken into account the importance of these pads for these special groups through social enterprising. This will make the service sustainable and for sure it will go miles away in reducing the shortage of these products in the market across the country.” 

Sustainability of services and products 

On his side, T-MARC Tanzania Managing Director, Tumaini Kimasa, said that the aim of bringing up the new products was to support the community through sustainable products and service delivery. 

“The products are part of our social enterprising drive. We want to ensure sustainability of our services and products at the same time maintaining quality and affordability. Our aim is to serve the larger society for a long time. We are here to stay as a committed partner to the Government and other stakeholders,” he said.

“We at T-MARC Tanzania have added a social enterprise model to this effect. We intend to run our business through responsible commercial approaches at the same time retaining our commitment to social impact as we serve the Tanzanian communities,” Mr. Kimasa explained.

Community involvement key to success in AIDS response

Since the emergency of AIDS some decades ago, health systems across the world have been stretched in terms of resources including financial, material and manpower for responding to the disease.    

These challenges necessitated the development of measures to combat the spread of the disease, introduction of new combinations of medications, prevention strategies and increased community awareness and involvement. 

Key to all these is the mobilisation of communities, who after recognizing their vulnerability, have taken collective action to curb the spread of the HIV virus. 

On the occasion to mark the World AIDS Day for 2019, T-MARC Tanzania Managing Director, Tumaini Kimasa, issued a press statement to the media to remind the public about the risk AIDS poses and the need for joint efforts in fighting against it. 

Communities Make the Difference

“The theme ‘Communities Make the Difference’ is so timely as it is the time that we need to reflect and celebrate the achievements recorded in the fight against AIDS through effective community involvement,” he said and added: “It is an opportunity to recognize the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at all levels.” 

According to him, communities across the globe contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways and that their leadership and advocacy ensures that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre leaving no one behind. 

“Peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by AIDS, vulnerable groups including drug abusers, sex workers, women and young people, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organisations, grass-roots activists, among many others are so key in the fight against AIDS,” he explained. 

Likewise, added, here in Tanzania community involvement has been critical to AIDS response across the country and communities are an important pillar in T-MARC Tanzania’s work. 

“Our mission is to contribute to the well-being of Tanzanians by and engaging in effective charitable activities and diverse partnerships among multiple players in providing education and public health support, whereby everyone has access to affordable, quality products and services and the information needed to live a better life,” said. 

Partnerships contributing towards AIDS-free Tanzania 

T-MARC Tanzania is carrying out various initiatives to promote positive health practices for HIV prevention, treatment and care for communities in Tanzania. Currently is working with a consortium of partners including the Government of Tanzania and FHI 360 to promote HIV testing services and early initiation of Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) through the national HIV test and treat Campaign ‘Furaha Yangu’ in various communities particularly those with high HIV burden. T-MARC also socially markets condoms for HIV prevention targeting vulnerable populations including women and youth in many parts of the country. 

For many years now we have been working hand in hand with other partners and communities in our health interventions including those responsible for AIDS response. These include central and local government authorities, local health committees, village/ward leaders, influencers, community health workers, volunteers among many others.

“At the time when resources for AIDS response are dwindling threatening the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts, greater community involvement remains the main hope for addressing the challenges that are brought by AIDS,” Mr. Kimasa concluded.