Around 50 million condoms have been sold through a social marketing project implemented by the Viet Nam Family Planning Association over the past three years.
This figure suggested that nearly 500,000 couples had been protected from sexually-transmitted diseases thanks to the initiative, said Vice President of the Viet Nam Family Planning Association, Professor Pham Ba Nhat.
The project now operates in 32 cities and provinces nationwide, helping kick off the 2011-20 National Population and Reproductive Health Strategy, he added.
Nhat said the association would like to continue its efforts in other areas within Viet Nam, but a dearth of volunteers and collaborators had made it difficult to expand.
Van Tat Pham, head of northern Ha Nam Province's Population and Family Planning Department, said no condoms were available for purchase in his province over the last six months of this year.
The monetary allowance for collaborators, currently at VND50,000 (US$2.4) per month, needed to be raised to encourage them to participate more actively in the project, Pham said.
However, a Population and Family Planning Department officer in central Ha Tinh Province said the benefits of condoms could be communicated to people most effectively via social media.
He also noted that the number of condoms sold was lower than expected because consumers had limited choice between types.
Professor Nhat said that funds for the project must be transferred from the Government to the association through authorised agencies, and the slow pace of this process was a main reason for poor distribution in rural localities.
The association had submitted a request for more condoms to the National Committee for Population and Family Planning in order to remedy the problem for the future, he said.
The association plans to distribute 40 million condoms in 2012. — VNS