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Ghana launches national condom strategies

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CondomsA National Condom and Lubricant Programming Strategy (NCLS), with the goal to improve access and use of quality condoms and lubricants in the country has been launched in Accra.

The Ministry of Health developed NCLS is a five year strategy, spanning 2016-2020, together with Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (CIP), all in an effort to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health for all Ghanaians.

The low use of both male and female condoms in Ghana, notwithstanding the dual purposes they serve in contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections has mainly been attributed to challenges with regard to the availability and accessibility of condoms as well as misconceptions surrounding its use.

The use of the female condom is even lower with inadequate knowledge on where it could be assessed and how it is used.

Dr Victor Bampoe, Deputy Minister of Health who launched the two strategies, which also coincided with the launch of this year’s Family Planning (FP) week celebrations in Accra, said the NCLS represents Ghana’s commitment to comprehensive condom programming.

The UNFPA is funding the two strategy documents that are required to support the decrease of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), increase access to condoms and lubricants and foster a supportive social and political environment for HIV and family planning programming prevention.

Dr Bampoe said the purpose of the NCLS is to ensure that all sexually active populations could be motivated to choose and use condoms and lubricants when they need to and have access to good quality condoms.

“It is expected that the implementation of this strategy as outlined in the HIV Costed Implementation Plan (HIV CIP) would lead to an increase in access to and use of condoms and lubricants in Ghana and ultimately contribute to the reduction of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, the incidence of HIV and other STIs.”

He expressed the hope that the information in the document would be as beneficial to everyone associated with planning, management and decision making associated with family planning and HIV and AIDS programming in Ghana.

Dr Bampoe explained that government in January also initiated the development of the CIP which builds on the key achievements, best practices and lessons learned of various reproductive health and family planning strategies and plans implemented.

“The document is particularly significant because it is the last five – year plan that will get us through our final ‘sprint’ to  the FP2020 goals, and also because it constitutes a key component of our government’s improved momentum to address equity, and access to reproductive , maternal, new-born and child health services.”

The CIP focuses on six key strategic priorities namely, commodity security, demand Creation, service Delivery and Access, Policy and Enabling Environment, Financing, Stewardship, Management and Accountability.

Dr Patrick Aboagye of the National Population Council said the two strategies are expected to help increase contraceptive use from 22.2 per cent in 2014 to 29.7 per cent by 2020 and also to increase the modern CPR among unmarried sexually active women from 31.7 per cent in 2014 to 40 per cent by 2020.

Source: GNA

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