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Regional News of Friday, 18 September 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

3 Bodies sensitise women to female condom

September 16 this year marked the fourth annual Global Female Condom Day – an annual event used for education and advocacy to increase awareness, access and use of female condoms.

To mark the event in Ghana, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA), an organization committed to reducing the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and children in Africa, organized a programme to enlighten women at Agbobgloshie and its environs on the use of the female condom.

The theme was: “Use a Female Condom.” Those who attended the programme were educated on the use of the female condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Described as a powerful tool for pleasure and prevention, the female condom is the only HIV, sexually transmitted infection (STI) and pregnancy-prevention option that is woman-initiated and currently available.

Among other things, the use of the female condom puts the woman in control of her reproductive system, makes her decide how many children to have at her own chosen time and also serves as an important barrier against HIV and AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, but many people do not know about it or cannot access it.

Increased Global investment

In a speech read on her behalf, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Dr Angela El-Adas, said around the world, sexual and reproductive health and rights advocates were calling for increased global investment in female condoms, based on widespread demand, adding that in Ghana “we are creating the awareness of the existence of the female condom and assure women of its effectiveness”.

Making reference to the programme, she said it was organised to provide more women with the opportunity to receive the needed information, ask questions and clear all doubts and misconceptions about the female condom.

According to Dr El-Adas, the country was making progress in its national HIV and AIDS response, indicating that as of 2014, the national prevalence was 1.47 per cent.

She, however, said the number of new infections among young people, aged 15-24, was increasing, with AIDS-related deaths, among this group also increasing, stressing the need for positive steps to reverse “these worrying trends”.

She said there was a huge gap in the country’s treatment services for children, and advised pregnant women to visit the clinic and test their HIV status, so that those who test positive will receive care, and ensure that their babies are also tested, so that children who are positive will remain in care.

Female condom

According to the President of the SWAA, Ms Gloria Dei Tutu, although Ghana launched the use of the female condom in 2000, the contraceptive had received low patronage and needed to be promoted.

She said: “Most of our inhabitants in the market, especially the young girls, are vulnerable towards sex and unfortunately naive about the use of contraceptives, hence the importance of this outreach programme in Agbobgloshie.”

The Communication Manager of GAC, Ms Margaret Yamoah, said the market women would receive free testing and screening for Syphilis and Cervical Cancer to ensure maximum security of their health concerns.