The latest research by National Aids Commission (NAC) carried in Malawi’s ten districts has revealed that lack of knowledge on use of female condoms is hampering efforts of empowering women in having protected sex.
Presenting the findings to District AIDS Committee members at Mchinji chamber hall on Tuesday, NAC’s Information Officer Eliam Kamanga said the research shows that though almost everyone in Malawi knows that female condoms exists very few people know how to use them.
“The study shows that the information on use of female condoms varies depending on education levels as it has revealed that those with high education have access to information on use of female condoms”, said Kamanga.
Apart from lack of knowledge on the use of female condoms Kamanga also cited myths and some cultural beliefs as some of the factors which have contributed to low levels of people using the female condoms.
The research also shows that urban people have access to female condoms unlike rural people who travel long distances to places where female condoms are accessed.
Commenting on the findings, ministry of health public relations Officer Henry Chimbali said they are disseminating the findings of the study to District AIDs committee members so that they should be able to find ways of overcoming the challenges.
“This will help to sensitize more people on the use of female condoms as the committee members will be able to inform the communities easily following the findings of the study,” said Chimbali.
District Aids Coordinator for Mchinji Patrick Mulenga said it is difficult for people to access condoms in areas where there are no government hospitals as some private religious hospitals do not have stock of condoms as they believe it promotes adultery.
Responding to the concern Chimbali said government will find alternatives so that the condoms should be accessible to everyone who needs them.
Female condoms were introduced in 2004 but are yet to be fully utilized in the country.