By Hassan Zaggi
Non availability and high prices have been identified as some of the major constraints hindering the acceptance of female condom in Nigeria.
The federal government has, therefore, been advised to regulate the prices of female condom so that the poor can have access to it at affordable prices.
Programme Officer, Reproductive Health/Family Planning Division, Pathfinder International, Izundu Kosiso Chukwu, stated this while responding to questions from journalists at an event to mark the Global Female Condom Day, in Abuja, yesterday.
She explained that Pathfinder International, decided to commemorate the global female condom day by organizing a youth activity, “basically bringing youth who are in and out of school to deliberate about the female condom and to assess what their knowledge is about female condom and also to teach them how to use the female condom to ensure that they are living healthy lives and being saved from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV.”
The Global Female Condoms Day, according her, is a day set aside to sensitize people about female condoms including ensuring advocacy, availability and accessibility of the product within countries.
She noted that female condom provides dual protection for both the male and female, especially in terms of preventing unintended pregnancies and the spread of STDs and HIV.
While lamenting the non acceptability of female condom compared to male condoms, Kosiso said: “The female condom has not been available. It is mostly available to programmers and specific organizations who are directly programming towards female condom.
“Unlike the male condoms that are in variety of flavours, they come in different shapes and sizes and are readily available at cheaper prices.
“We are appealing to the government to ensure that the price is regulated in such a way that both the rich and poor can afford the female condom and even giving the women the variety of choices to be able to choose from, so that women are not stocked to specific contraceptive due to prices and the availability.”
Responding to a question on the many benefits of female condoms, the expert said: “When female condom is used correctly, it is able to give the user all of the protection they need and also add as a contraceptive for the woman.”
She, however, warned that using the female condom incorrectly comes with some challenges.
Speaking on the response of Nigerians to female condom in most part of the country, Kosiso said that the response has been positive.
She, however, lamented that: “The problem still remains the fact that even when people ask for it there is no availability of female condom at that level, so it is also an advocacy effort we are trying to push at the federal level to ensure that it is procured and distributed to nooks and crannies of the country.”
The activity was well attended by young people from both within and outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).