Support condom production for mass distribution

Data from the National STIs and HIV/AIDS Control Programme (NACP) has shown that cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increases anytime condom distribution in Ghana is low.
The Programme Manager of the NACP, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, who disclosed this, has therefore, called on all stakeholders and individuals to support the production and procurement of condoms in the country so that it could be distributed to all in the population including, young people and adult males and females.

“When COVID-19 struck and there was limited service delivery, it reduced significantly the number of condoms distributed but people’s behaviour didn’t change and we saw an increase in STI cases. That trend has been established to the extent that if you look at the HIV prevalence among STI clients, it has increased to 12 per cent from the five per cent recorded two or three years ago,” he explained.


Condom availability

Dr Ayisi Addo, who made the disclosure at the launch of the National Family Planning Week 2022 and a TV series by the Ghana Health Service, explained that the issue of condom availability in the country had to do with funding to purchase it and the distribution system.

He explained that condoms in the country were currently unfunded so it was the government that was expected to procure them.

However, he said, where the government did not have money to do so, they had to rely on development partners such as the UNFPA and the West Africa Health Organisation to do that.

He said ones the condoms were in, it was expected of them to distribute them and that activity, he explained, was linked to prevention campaigns but because they did not have the resources to do so, distribution of the condoms happened in the health facilities and sometimes in the pharmacies.

“But there ought to be a very deliberate promotion during festival occasions and social activities so that people will be aware and use it. The value of condoms, which is an important tool in family planning and sexual and reproductive health, should not be underestimated to enable us achieve good progress in our country.”

Youth and condom use

He said the youth of today were not using condoms pointing out that, HIV prevalence in people who were single and cohabiting was higher than those in formal relationship.


He, therefore, called for increase condom use promotion adding that, HIV epidemic could not be ended without preventing new infections.

“There are new infections occurring, about 19,000 annually. We must break that transmission and it can only happen if we promote the prevention messages and condom use. So use the contraceptives correctly, consistently and continuously and you will be free from HIV and free from unwanted pregnancies so you make informed choices for better survival and development,” he said.

World Contraception Day

September 26 every year is celebrated globally as World Contraception Day. Ghana was among the pioneers and celebrated the first ever WCD which had been extended into a week-long celebration dubbed, ‘Family Planning Week’. Activities for the week-long celebration included media engagement, provision of free services and selected locations, health talks to organized groups, gloats and other community mobilization and awareness creation activities.


This year’s celebration incorporated the reproductive health needs of adolescents through the launch of a unique television series known as, ATOUA, which literally understood in the Akan language as, ‘should it happen to you,’

The 10 episodes programme, which would air every week from October seeks to educate young people on their reproductive health highlighting the risks and unhealthy decisions that could affect their education and aspirations.

There were messages from the UNFPA, the Plan Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), and Marie Stopes Ghana.


Launching

Launching the celebration, the Director, Family Health Division of the GHS, Dr Kofi Issah, said a number of socio-economic and cultural factors were mainly responsible for the low utilization of available maternal health services and family planning services were no exception.

He mentioned fear of side effects, rumours, myths and misconceptions as the most frequently cited reasons for non-use of modern family planning methods adding that, poor attitude of health workers and provider bias were also deterrents to utilization.

Source: graphiconline

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