Uganda’s Ministry of Health To Reintroduce Female Condoms
Uganda's Ministry of Health will reintroduce female condoms as part of its HIV/AIDS prevention program in response to increased demand, IRIN/PlusNews reports. According to IRIN/PlusNews, the government in 2007 halted distribution of the female condom because of insufficient demand and complaints that the condoms were not user-friendly. However, a recent health ministry analysis determined that women in the country sought an HIV prevention method that allowed them control over preventing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies.
Vashta Kibirige, coordinator of the condom unit at the health ministry, said the ministry will distribute about 100,000 female condoms, primarily in the eastern and central parts of Uganda. According to IRIN/PlusNews, some women in the western area of the country do not support the reintroduction of the female condom because they do not believe it is supportive of their culture. Kibirige said the ministry would conduct an awareness campaign to promote acceptance of the female condom in all regions of the country.
According to IRIN/PlusNews, the female condoms will be available at government health centers for a small fee. However, advocates argue that some Ugandan women will not be able to afford the fee and therefore will not obtain condoms. Sylvia Namabidde, a member of Uganda's parliament, said the fee might encourage some women to reuse the condoms, which raises health and hygiene issues. According to IRIN/PlusNews, Uganda in 1999 obtained 1.5 million female condoms and distributed some at no cost. However, the remaining condoms are still on the shelves of the National Medical Stores, IRIN/PlusNews reports (IRIN/PlusNews, 2/12).