Comprehensive Condom Programming in West Africa
This Council project identified strategies for re-integrating the female and male condom in the national reproductive health and HIV and AIDS programs of Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
Woman learning how to insert a female condom. Photo: Nafissatou J. Diop/Population Council
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) called on the Population Council to work with UNFPA country offices and national governments to identify strategies for re-integrating both the female and male condom into the national reproductive health and HIV and AIDS programs of Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
The objectives of this project were to:
- Identify and engage key program managers and policymakers in improving condom programming with a special focus on the female condom;
- Describe the current status of male and female condom programming, including the level of policy support, the adequacy and sustainability of male and female condom procurement and supply, and the process used to monitor and evaluate condom distribution and use;
- Identify the conditions that facilitate and hinder use of the male and female condom;
- Explore future areas of collaboration and coordination mechanisms between government institutions, civil society, and community actors;
- Identify potential new distribution mechanisms, new actors (including NGOs, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, health providers, private-sector outlets), and the skills and management needs of program managers; and
- Develop a comprehensive plan of action for both the male and female condom.
In all six focus countries the project worked to accomplish the following:
- Establish multidisciplinary working groups on condom programming. A national condom task team was set up in each country by the Ministry of Health or the National AIDS Council with the following mission: Design a strategic plan for condom re-introduction and assure better coordination of interventions. In each country the national condom task team comprises the main stakeholders involved in RH/STI/AIDS programs. These stakeholders may include the Ministry of Health's reproductive health division, a country's national AIDS control program, NGOs like the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA), affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, youth representatives, UN agencies (UNFPA, UNHCR, WHO), the US Agency for International Development, and others. The task teams were involved at every step of the process to build ownership and better use of research findings for planning purposes.
- Perform a situation analysis on male and female condoms. In each of the countries a situation analysis survey confirmed low awareness and availability of both male and female condoms, but especially female condoms. The survey indicated that many NGOs and community-based organizations were willing to help distribute condoms but were largely unaware of female condoms and how to access and use them. The survey also revealed that poor management, minimal resources to promote use, and lack of coordination were major obstacles to making both male and female condoms more widely available.
Despite these challenges, the governments of these countries are willing to pursue a scaled-up condoms program.
- Develop a national strategic plan and five-year strategic plans for male and female condoms. The next step was to scale up condom distribution programs further by ensuring that condoms were an integral part of national plans and policies. Fortunately, in each country, the government and various donors were supportive of efforts to ensure a stable, long-term supply of contraceptives and HIV prevention products.
National governments partnered with UNFPA and other stakeholders to develop national strategic plans to include male and female condoms in the programs of the six countries. These strategies aim to unify all HIV and reproductive health efforts in a particular country. Condoms are being promoted as a dual-protection method for couples through family planning clinics and for prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections through organizations involved in HIV prevention. The emphasis on dual protection is designed to reduce the perception of condoms as a tool for disease prevention only, which can stigmatize their use, and to respond to the reality in West Africa of a low contraceptive prevalence rate and high fertility rate.
No publications are listed
Duration: 1/2008 - 12/2008
Bidia Deperthes (United Nations Population Fund/New York)
Governments of focus countries
Penda N'Diaye (United Nations Population Fund)
United Nations Population Fund