A total of 145 potential direct jobs are to be created when a latex condom manufacturing plant at the Dube Trade Port in Durban is opened. The plant is a result of a partnership - facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry -between US company HBM and SA Health Protecting Service which is a local medical consumable supplier in both the public and private sector.
“The investment partnership with HBM to form HBM-SA Health Protecting Services will create 145 potential direct jobs with the investment in the first phase value at R60 million,” said the dti.
SA Health Protecting Services are venturing into the manufacturing of condoms and other medical consumables following partnership formed with HBM.
“The Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone was identified as an ideal site to locate the manufacturing facility as their main intention is to export into the continent,” said the dti.
The facility will produce 700 000 condoms per day for the local and export markets. Among the items in the production line will be the government’s newly branded Max condoms, which have replaced the Choice brand.
South Africa alongside, Nigeria, Ghana, Lesotho, Guinea, and Mozambique are the countries that have been identified as target markets for the condoms.
The launch of the plant comes as South Africa is currently hosting the International Aids Conference which kicked off on Monday. The conference, which is expected to usher in a fresh approach in the fight against HIV and Aids, has seen the country welcome hundreds of delegates from 180 countries.
“The opening of this manufacturing facility shows that a systematic approach is needed to address the local epidemic of HIV/AIDS and its impact on the South African economy.
“There are currently an estimated 37 million infections globally with approximately 2 million new infections per year. South Africa contributes a significant proportion of these new infections with young women between the ages of 15 and 24 remaining the most vulnerable population in the country,” said the dti.
A survey in 2012 found that HIV prevalence among women was nearly twice as high as men.
South Africa has responded to its HIV epidemic with a rapid expansion of its condom programme as well as its HIV treatment programme with male condoms being widely available in the country.
In 2015, the public health sector substantially increased the number of male condoms procured to approximately 3 billion over a three year period, from 2015 to 2018, roughly equating to a billion male condoms a year in response to a decline in condom usage identified in the outcomes of a survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council in 2014.
The Department of Health is targeting to make condoms more accessible with a substantial increase in the number of females condoms procured in the public sector, up from 2010 to 54 million pieces.
“The total value of the 2015-2018 public sector condoms tender was valued at approximately R3.5 billion,” said the dti.
All views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of SALGA.