United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has bemoaned the continued low condom use and other forms of contraceptives in the country.
UNFPA Country Representative Deji Popoola said the low condom use in the country is worrying as it is an indication of high risk behavior which can result in increased infections of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Popoola told ZANIS in Lusaka today that there is need for more advocacy on condom use and to promote protective rubber sheath as a dual protector from STI’s and unwanted pregnancies.
He said although condoms are readily available and accessible at either very cheap prices or free of charge, their consumption have continued to be low in the country despite several efforts to sensitize communities on their importance in family planning and prevention of STI’s.
And Dr Popoola has observed that the contraceptive drug Depo-Provera has continued to be some women’s choice contraceptive regardless of the controversy that surrounded it after reports that it contained the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
He said according to the UNFPA’s findings, most of the women that accessed the contraceptive from government medical institutions continued accessing it from the private sector after the established false media reports.
Dr. Popoola said all districts in the country are currently making orders of Depo-Provera from the Medical Stores adding that the continued production supply is an indication of restored confidence and consumption of the contraceptive by women across the country.
He has since commended government through the Ministry of Health for having handled the once controversial Depo-Provera issue professionally.
Recently media reports that Depo-Provera a contraceptive injection for women contained the AIDS virus stirred emotions of anxiety among some consumers in the country.
The contraceptive was however withdrawn from medical institutional shelves for thorough investigations after which it was conclusively established that it was free of HIV.
And UNFPA Programme Officer for Reproductive Health Sarai Malumo said there is need to establish reasons behind the low usage of condoms in the country despite various and extensive forms of sensitization campaigns.
Dr. Malumo said the trend is not encouraging because statistics have continued to show an overall imbalance in the use of condoms and other forms of contraceptives among both the urban and rural populations in the country.
She however said that her organization will not relent in carrying out sensitization campaigns and education programs to ensure that contraceptives are used in both family planning and prevention of STI’s such as HIV/AIDS through the use of condoms.