Now, DMRC stations to have condom vending machines

New Delhi, May 2: Now, a condom on the move! Replenish your contraceptive stocks on the go!!

Travelling in Delhi’s world class metro trains has become a tad more seductive: insert coins, even currency notes, in a vending machine and out come condoms, sanitary napkins and a range of healthcare products.

HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of contraceptives, has decided to associate with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to make available male and female condoms at its sprawling spick and span stations across the national capital.

Kerala-based HLL, a Central PSU of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will also provide its array of products like sanitary napkins, oral contraceptive pills, deodorants and Ayurvedic products (joint pain cream and hair oils) — through vending machines.

The first multipurpose vending machine was inaugurated by Shri Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at Central Secretariat Metro Station at a function here yesterday. Dr. M Ayyappan, Chairman and Managing Director of HLL, and Mr. Gautam Guha, Addl Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Health, were also present at the function.

“This is a novel initiative of making available contraceptives and other healthcare products to the commuters of Delhi Metro”, said Shri Lov Verma after the launch. “I’m sure this will further strengthen Government of India’s initiatives towards stabilizing population”, he added.

Delhi Metro is India’s first modern public transportation system, operating about 2800 services every day with its daily ridership averaging 24 lakh commuters. Such an initiative will be a surefire attraction for the travellers to replenish their stocks of contraceptives even if they miss s their date with a chemist’s shop or government dispensaries.

Dr Ayyappan said HLL would, in the first phase, install 25 vending machines at 21 metro stations. “Our endeavor is to make condoms, sanitary napkins, deodorants and contraceptive pills available to the commuters of Delhi Metro, who can avail this facility while on move. It will also contribute to social issues of family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and women hygiene leading to their overall health,” he pointed out.

Operated by Instago, a leading vending company in India, the fully automatic multipurpose vending machines dispense the product at the press of a button after inserting Indian currency. A unique feature of the machine is that it accepts all Indian currency, both in paper and coin forms. It also returns the excess credit, if any, inserted by the user.

The machine uses the advance technology of ‘Vend Sensor’ wherein if the user fails to get the product due to any reason, he/she will get the money back.

HLL also plans to install two electronic vending machines for sanitary napkin and condoms in corporate offices, schools and college washrooms, and various other public locations to make these products available for the people.

India has witnessed a population growth from 1028.70 million in 2001 to 1210.20 million in 2011, with a rate of 17.64 per cent. Making reproductive healthcare accessible is the foundation for stabilizing population.

According to DLHS-III (District Level Household and Facility Survey), the current use of condoms in India is 5.2 per cent only. “The need for making condoms at the right place, right time and with minimum of embarrassment calls for an innovative method of condom distribution. Multipurpose Condom Vending Machines are a novel way to address this situation,” Dr. Ayyappan said.

Over the years, HLL has transformed from a single-product (NIRODH) company to an integrated healthcare delivery behemoth. It is now one of the largest manufacturers of condoms in the world, offering everything in contraception. While the hugely popular “Moods” has been a scorching success as a masculine contraceptive device, HLL has also launched VELVET, a third generation low-protein and natural latex-based female condoms.

“Hopefully, such an initiative will provide greater level of acceptability to condoms they deserve,” Dr Ayyappan said, adding: “As a company dedicated to public service, our goal is to bring affordable healthcare to people.” (ANI)