Storage of barrier methods is an important consideration for
family planning programs, just as it is for individuals. It
is important to protect the stock from heat, light, water, pests
or pollution, using proper storage techniques, illustrated in
this slide. This is especially true for latex condoms.
When properly stored in temperate climates, most barrier method
products will last up to five years. This is true for latex
condoms as well if they were good quality when manufactured
and if the packaging remains intact. The quality of the product
gradually declines with age, so it is best to use stock within
three years if possible.
The best way to ensure that barrier methods are not too old
to use safely is to monitor the supply carefully. Because the
use of barrier methods requires continuous resupply, programs
need to be sure to keep adequate amounts of stock available
at all distribution sites. Careful planning is necessary to
estimate quantities of supplies required. Accurate record-keeping
and good stock rotation are also necessary. Training staff in
all the steps of supply, resupply, stock rotation, storage and
record-keeping is essential.