Introduction Public administration challen ges frustrate the distribution of condoms in PNG. Whereas HIV/AIDS-awareness and condom-use programs can be undertaken as resources permit, realising universal access means distributing condoms in ways more resilient to the vulnerabilities experienced by state agencies.
Methods The PNG Companion Product Condom Distribution Project seeks to evaluate the viability of distributing condoms by piggybacking on existing supply-chains. It is funded by the PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS) and advanced in cooperation with a national distributer of a popular laundry soap.
An initial study evaluated the receptiveness of trade-store proprietors to receiving condoms via companion packaging. The study comprised interviews with 100 storeowners randomly selected from four administrative areas. Cooperating storeowners were provided with 200 free condoms during the first interview, and informed they could either sell or give these away. After 10 days, enumerators returned to conduct follow-up interviews.
Results Of the 100 storeowners surveyed, only 2 indicated they had regularly stocked condoms in the past. Ninety-five agreed to distribute the free condoms and 88 later provided valid data indicating that of the 17,600 condoms distributed to these storeowners, 216 had been sold and 6,915 given away by the time enumerators returned. Interest in receiving further free supplies via companion packaging was indicated by 88 storeowners, most referring to the ease of this approach as a means of providing their communities with access to condoms.
Conclusion The results suggest that the market for condoms in villages remains immature but that the approach has potential both as a means of distributing condoms and as a means of introducing them to the village-store level. A trial distribution in two provinces is currently underway.
Disclosure of interest statement The PNG Companion Product Condom Distribution Project is a Public Private Partnership with coordination, monitoring and evaluation supported by the PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat. A Behavioural Change and Education component is provided by UNFPA. Colgate Palmolive collaborate through making available their supply chain, which reaches from their Lae warehouse to the trade-store level of the national economy.