FOIA Docs: Catholic Medical Mission Board Lying to Donors About Condoms

April 26, 2017
The Lepanto Institute’s latest investigation
By Michael Hichborn

In February, the Lepanto Institute published a report showing promotion and distribution of condoms by the Catholic Medical Mission board. In the report were statements from the current and former CEO of CMMB, both voicing their support for the use of condoms to combat HIV/AIDS, as well as screen captured images of official government documents showing that CMMB distributed condoms in South Sudan.

It’s not surprising that CMMB declined to comment on the report, however, the Lepanto Institute has recently learned that CMMB has denied any wrongdoing to its supporters. Someone recently forwarded an email they received from CMMB:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us directly in response to the recent media attention surrounding the allegations of condom distribution in our work.

It is important to know the truth surrounding our programs and work. CMMB does not purchase, receive, or distribute donations of condoms. The educational programs that CMMB supports focus on individual responsibility, monogamy, respect, religious faith, and basic healthcare. We do provide our partners complete and accurate information about family planning as part of our HIV prevention efforts. Our goal in all our work related to the prevention of HIV is always to preserve and honor the sanctity of life; a fundamental component of our Catholic identity.

Additionally, CMMB follows national guidelines established by the ministry of health, and those of the presiding conference of Catholic Bishops in each country where our programs are located. We uphold and embrace the teachings of the Catholic Church and seek to express our faith through both our actions and words.

I ask that you continue to pray for our work and for those whose lives are being transformed through your generosity and support. We focus our work on saving the lives of the most vulnerable people on the planet; mothers and children, and we thank you for your commitment to providing Healthier Lives Worldwide.

May God Bless you,
Catholic Medical Mission Board

Everything CMMB said in this statement can be reduced to a single line: “CMMB does not purchase, receive, or distribute donations of condoms.” What CMMB may not be aware of is that we have documentation, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, submitted by them to the federal government telling quite a different story.

You can examine the FOIA documentation we obtained by clicking the link here: CMMB FOIA Docs.

We’ll just dispel the myth of CMMB’s claims right off the bat. Found on page 31 of the FOIA documents is this excerpt from the Introduction portion of CMMB’s Year 2 Annual Progress Report to PEPFAR and the CDC. As you can clearly see in the image below, it says rather plainly that “CMMB’s scope of work conforms to the Sudan CDC/PEPFAR mission as outlined below … such as condom distribution.”


From CMMB’s own annual reports, it makes very clear that it was in charge of the ANISA Project, and that the ANISA Project did indeed distribute condoms. Regardless of whether the Catholic Medical Mission Board actually, physically handled the condoms in question, the fact of the matter is that it was responsible for the implementation of a project that included the distribution of condoms.

There are 75 pages of documentation that we obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, but it only takes a few pages to make it clear that not only did CMMB distribute condoms … CMMB reported the distribution itself.

The first document in the set is a “CMMB Response to CDC Comments on ANISA Year 3 Report.” In other words, this document is a set of responses from CMMB to the CDC clarifying a few matters that the CDC found unclear. On page 4 of the FOIA docs, the CDC makes a comment on something it found on page 6 of CMMB’s Year 3 Annual Report. To clarify the matter, CMMB wrote a paragraph as requested on their exit interviews of clients receiving their HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) services. One thing CMMB indicates is that “consistent condom demonstrations” will be improved.


On page 5, CMMB addressed another question from the CDC, indicating that “condom demonstrations continued to reach high risk young girls during year 3.”


On page 6, the CDC requested copies of the condom-promotion leaflets that were adopted and designed by the ANISA Project, as reported by CMMB. CMMB responded that it attached those leaflets to its response. We are currently attempting to obtain copies of those leaflets.

Read the rest at the Lepanto Institute.

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