A flurry of young people danced in front of the federal health ministry in Central Abuja recently to demand for global and national investment in female condoms.
They were part of a worldwide Dance4Demand—hundreds of young people dancing at community centres, schools, clinics and even the offices of public officials—to demand that governments involve young people in procurement processes for health commodities, particularly female condoms, on Global Female Condom Day.
“Today we put to rest the question of whether people want female condoms. It is clear that in fact we demand access to female condoms!” said partners of the Female Condom Advocacy Project (FACP) in Nigeria.
“We urge policymakers to invest in female condom education, programming and distribution to meet the local need and demand.”
The Association for Family and Reproductive Health said female condom was the only option for preventing HIV, STI and pregnancy currently available to women, and giving them a greater control of their health.
Government health spending provides for female condoms, which are transported from central warehouses for distribution to states where family planning coordinators provide them to families at facilities through local health workers.
But poor awareness about means families don’t request for it, health providers, facilities and states don’t request new stock, federal government can’t order new consignments and stock left behind in central warehouses expire.
“There is provision for it but we want demand to be created and the problem of stock-out to be addressed,” said Maryam Patrick, programme officer for communications at Education as a Vaccine (EVA), a FACP partner.
“Most people don’t use female condom. They find it not accessible or affordable; they don’t have a chance or choice.”
EVA has said investment could help increase the brands of female condoms available from just the single brand being distributed.
World Health Organisation has qualified only two brands for bulk purchase by United Nations system, compared with more than 200 male condom brand available on the market in Nigeria alone.