Press release: International conference on female condoms: ‘Prevention, Pleasure and Protection"

17-18 november 2011, Museum for Communication The Hague, The Netherlands

As a wife, mother, schoolteacher and health worker, Mercy Ngala Mokake in Cameroon feels the female condom is a precious tool for all. “I think this campaign should spread across the country. It will help many women as a contraceptive and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. This message (and not the virus) should spread far and wide, from primary school to university”.

Conference

The conference ‘Prevention, Pleasure and Protection’ brought together some 125 experts in the field of female condom programming to discuss the state of the art in female condoms on 17 November 2011. Next to presentations by leading scientists and specialists on female condoms, a range of working groups offered the possibility of direct exchange and discussion on various topics. These included presentations on nanotechnology, latest in regulatory developments, the use of social media, localization of gatekeepers, and the sustainability of the global advocacy movement.
Participants came from government agencies, donors, academia, and others, and female condom programs in Mozambique, Cameroon and Nigeria. 

Universal Access to Female Condoms (UAFC) Joint Programme

During the last three years UAFC played a major role in setting the international agenda for female condoms, in working on advocacy and development, and in supporting large scale country programs in Cameroon and Nigeria and Mozambique. UAFC has supported different manufacturers in pre qualifying their female condoms for the global market. In the coming years the focus will be on knowledge transfer and experience acquired by organizations in the South as well as continuation of the country programs and the regulatory and manufacturing support. Ultimate aim is to create a sustainable and viable market and global acceptance of female condoms as a reliable method of family planning and prevention, so that the need for a special actor as UAFC will cease to exist.

Background

Worldwide, 215 million women have an unmet need for contraception. At the same time more and more women are being infected with HIV/AIDS. In Sub-Saharan Africa 8 young women to 1 man are HIV-positive.  The female condom (FC) is the only available female initiated method that provides protection against STIs, including HIV, and protects against mistimed or unwanted pregnancies. The female condom puts women in charge and is therefore women empowering. The demand for female condoms is substantial and rapidly increasing.

The conference was organized by UAFC Joint Programme in co-operation with PSI Zimbabwe and Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). Partners in UAFC Joint Programme: I+ Solutions, Oxfam Novib, Rutgers WPF and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.