A TV advertisement promoting condom use in Kenya has been withdrawn after an outcry by religious leaders, health official Peter Cherutich has said. He told the BBC the advert had been launched because up to 30% of married couples had other partners.
In a BBC Focus on Africa interview, Dr Cherutich said that while the advert had been withdrawn, he was unapologetic about its message - that it was essential for people to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.
In the government-sponsored advert, a woman in an extra-marital affair is advised to use condoms. Two women are walking to the market. One woman asked about her lover glances at a man selling fruit nearby, implying he is her lover. She says she is happy
with him, even though she does not spend much time with him. When asked if she uses a condom she looks embarrassed. The advert ends with the other woman advising her that it is important to use a condom to protect herself and her loved ones including the
school girl that runs towards the woman and hugs her.
Christian and Muslim clerics claimed the advert encouraged infidelity, rather than safe sex to curb HIV/Aids.
The Kenyan Anglican Church's Bishop Julius Kalu claimed the advert, shown on free-to-air TV stations at peak audience times, had promoted extra-marital affairs and sex among school pupils:
It openly propagates immorality, especially when all family members are gathered before television sets, waiting to watch news,
Kenya's Muslim religious body, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), also condemned TV stations for showing the one-minute-long advert. Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, CIPK's organising secretary, told Kenya's Business Daily newspaper:
The advertisement depicts this nation as Sodom and Gomorra and not one that values the institution of marriage and family.