A sexual reproductive health rights advocate has embarked on a three months campaign in Dedza to promote the use of female condoms in sexual relationships.
Talimba Bandawe, a World Contraception Day Ambassador to Malawi, says the campaign is targeting youths aged 18-24 to raise their awareness about contraception and safe sex.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting with youth club members on Monday, she said awareness on female condoms remains low in the communities despite their availability in health facilities.
“Basically we want to promote use of female condoms among the youths who are in sexual relationships. The female condom continues to lag behind the male condom in terms of uptake yet it is very effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections since it has less risks of rupture,” Bandawe noted.
She said through the campaign, she has trained 15 youths in advocacy so that they should help raise awareness as well as engage with service providers such as the District Hospital Office (DHO) and Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) to ensure consistent supply of the condoms.
Youth Friendly Service Coordinator for Dedza DHO, Joseph Chikazuma, said uptake of female condoms is being compromised by attitudes of some women and girls.
“Women and girls usually say the female condom is too big such that it can be very difficult to put it in place while others say it causes cancer. They actually come at the hospital to collect male condoms leaving out the female condoms,” he hinted.
Chikazuma said female condoms are empowering women and girls as they enables them to take control of their sexual health hence there is need for more awareness to dispel all negative perceptions.
The campaign titled ‘Say it, Get it’ is being implemented in three traditional authorities of Kaphuka, Kamenyagwaza and Kachindamoto in the district with funding from Women Deliver and Bayer.