Kamis, 01 November 2012

GHANA RELAUNCHES PROGRAMME- To Promote Use of Female Condom

 Story and Picture: Zainabu Issah

THE Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with the Ghana AIDS Commission, has launched a programme to promote the use of female condoms.

According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), although the female condom was introduced in Ghana about 12 years ago, available statistics indicate that only a small percentage of the female populations use the female condom. For example, only 463 women in the Greater Accra region using the product.

Speaking at the relaunch of the female condom in Accra, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, said, “This, therefore, shows that as a nation, we need to step up our efforts financially and at the policy level to explore the viability of enhancing national female programming and address the problematic barriers that hinder the access to and use of female condoms”.

The launch which was on the theme: “Female Condom for Double Protection,” was aimed, among other things, to raise the awareness of the use of the female condom and the need for women to empower themselves and take control of their lives.

Nii Afotey-Agbo said even though the product had been in the system for a long time, its usage remained low.

He added that given the strategic advantage of female condom in reducing the risk of contracting the Human Immuno Virus (HIV), the risk of unwanted pregnancy among women and girls, there was the need to commit greater attention and resources to its promotion.

He, therefore, lauded the efforts of the MOH and its stakeholders for their efforts in promoting and encouraging the use of the female condom.

He expressed optimism that the relaunch of the female condom would carry along with it the real issues that matter most by integrating the use of female condoms into sector-wide policies and more importantly, within HIV and AIDS programming.

Nii Afotey-Agbo also expressed the hope that women would be better placed to champion the promotion of the use of the female condom in homes, families and communities at large.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health, Mr Alban Bagbin, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Appiah Denkyira, urged the male population to come on board to support the use of the female condom in the country.

He said about 1,300,000 female condoms were available in the country for distribution hence the need for every woman to gain access to the condom for use.

He said the female condom was easy to use and also increased pleasure during sexual intercourse and added that it was a good safe initiative to provide protection against unintended pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs).

Dr Denkyira pledged the ministry’s continuous support to ensuring healthy and clean lifestyle for all women and the general public as a whole.

In her address, the acting Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), MS Marian Kpakpah, called on Ghanaians, especially young men, to join in the campaign to promote the use of female condom in the country.

She said their collective effort would help reduce the high incidence of unwanted pregnancies as well as the increase of STD’s among women and young girls in the country.

She, therefore, lauded the initiative of the ministry and pledged the NPC’s support in the promotion of female condom use in the country.

The Project Coordinator of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), Mr Nii Anan Sowah, in his remarks, expressed delight on the relaunch of the female condom and added that its use would help prevent unwanted pregnancies among young women.

He revealed that HIV infection rates were also higher in women than men and therefore urged women to take their destiny into their own hands by doing all that they could to protect themselves during sexual intercourse.

The Country Coordinator of UNAIDS, Mr Girmay Haile, in his remarks, described the relaunch of the female condom as one small chapter in the bigger picture that would help project women and also protect assets of the nation.

He also admired the country’s effort in promoting gender and women empowerment.

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