WASN, Church Fight Female Condom Stigma

This comes after WASN conducted a comprehensive research in Chikomba, Chitungwiza, Mufakose and Greater Harare, probing the use of the female condom whose results showed that the product continues to have
a low uptake.

“Lack of proper promotion, education and no involvement of men proved to be the major factors contributing to the continued low uptake of the female condom,” WASN  director, Marry Sanders revealed.

WASN is targetting the church because of its huge following.

“There is no other way of getting anything accepted by the community besides engaging the real people and hear what they want. This together with engaging the media is a priority from now on. After this crucial engagement and involvement with the church and the community we will then put everything they would have proposed into play and that way we will achieve the desired results,” Sanders said.

The church which was represented by Salvation Army’s retired officer , Nicholas Munjodzi Chigwaza said they will lead the campaign.

 “Talking about HIV and AIDS in the churches was an immoral issue yesterday and not today, because every one of us in the country is being affected by the pandemic directly or in directly. There is no
congregation that has not lost a member to this pandemic and to ignore the issues will be evil.

In churches we have couple meetings where married people get together sharing ideas and these are the avenues which can be exploited to promote the use of the female condom. It is not a secret that AIDS is
with us and no sane person can shy away from learning and getting education on the use of the female condom,” he said.

The Chichi community bemoaned service providers’ reluctance to educate them on how the condom is being used.

“Service providers are biased towards male condom use some are not able to convince people and lack skills”.

“Those spearheading the promotion of the female condom should seriously engage males because they are the ones in charge and dictates of sex in homes”, said the a community member.

“Another challenge we are facing in using this product is that  as women we are not empowered to dictate or negotiate its use to our husbands during sex, hence the need for you to engage males who should
first understand the purposes of this product as they do to the male condom” ,added a female community member .

According to Population Services International (PSI),which introduced the female condom in the country in 1997,  users of the product perceive it to be effective and reliable as both an STI/HIV prevention
method and a contraceptive method. But 30 percent of men and 57 percent of women reported some difficulty with use, such as problems with insertion, discomfort during sex, and excess lubrication.

Like WASN , PSI said both male and female users of the female condom agree that woman, more than men, initiate dialogue about using the female condom, decide on its use, and procure the product.