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Lack of female condoms hampering HIV fight in Chikhwawa

CHIKHWAWA (MANA):It has been discovered that lack of female condoms in most health facilities in Chikhwawa district is greatly hampering efforts to enhance family planning methods and the fight against HIV and Aids.

This was raised on Tuesday during a stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Hunger Project aimed at discussing issues to do with condom availability as well as the progress made in distributing them through some health facilities available in the district.

Chikhwawa district has over 20 health facilities and over half of the figure of the representatives from these health facilities complained that they have not received the female condoms of late.

“For example, our health facility does not have female condoms although we have sent out messages relating to the usage of the same and how they can be taken care of through health talks being conducted at our health centre as well as to sugarcane farmers.

So, with this problem we are afraid this might affect our efforts in as far as enhancing family planning methods and the fight against HIV and Aids is concerned,” said one representative from Kasinthula health facility.

Other health facilities that have not received the female condoms included Dolo, Mfera, Chapananga, Kakoma and Ngabu among others.

On his part, Hester Nyasulu who is an HIV Fellow at the hunger project advised the representatives of different health facilities to develop a spirit of booking for such resources at the Central Medical Stores where the female condoms are bought by the government.

“We have the female condoms in the country but the issue lies in our hands whereby we need to develop the spirit of booking for them where there is no supply. However, we will sit down as an office in order to rectify the problem that everyone has presented here,” he said.

Nyasulu added that as representatives of health facilities, they needed to act as marketers by telling the people especially women advantages of the female condoms so that everyone gets the right message.

“Let us all work as a team in delivering the message on female condoms at the same time we should also include others like the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) so that a larger number of people access the condoms and are imparted with the right message.

Chikwawa District Health Office Spokesperson, Felix Simbi assured communities that his office would address the challenges to ensure that both male and female condoms are available in health facilities.

The FC2 Female Condom Education Project which is being implemented in the district is being funded by Female Health Company and will run from 1st April 2014 to 30th March 2015.

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