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‘We’ll make condoms more accessible’

Renuka Chowdhury now proposes anganwadi workers to carry condoms to ensure women can buy condoms any time of the day, reports Chetan Chauhan.
Hindustan Times | By Chetan Chauhan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2007 02:47 AM IST

When women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said on Monday that women should carry condoms on their person and that protection should be made available to them 24/7, it wasn't just an off-the-cuff remark. The minister meant every word she said. She has now proposed that anganwadi workers carry condoms and an elderly woman in each village or locality be designated for condom distribution. The objective: to ensure women can buy condoms any time of the day.

“It is not possible for women to buy condoms at night. There are only a few 24-hour pharmacies and most medical shops close by 10 p.m. So, the best way is to designate an elderly person who can be contacted when the condoms are needed,” she told the Hindustan Times.

Chowdhury said the idea was to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS from infected men to their wives, which is the case in many families across the country. “The best way to prevent such a situation is by ensuring women have condoms in their possession rather than them being dependent on their husbands.”

The move is part of the government’s new initiative to make condoms more accessible, affordable and available in every nook and corner of the country. “Community participation can ensure that condoms are available at the doorstep in villages,” Chowdhury said.

The Ministry wants the additional duty for anganwadi workers to be

incorporated in the restructured Integrated Child Development Scheme and is, with the Planning Commission, finalizing the new module of the scheme, to be launched later this year.

Chowdhury said the government must ensure women’s constitutional right to equality and ensuring they get contraceptives is one such right. The ministry and the National AIDS Control Authority will jointly implement the plan.

The minister had on Monday created a flutter by saying that women should trust condoms more than their husbands, and suggested that they buy condoms themselves to protect themselves.

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