The New Times (Kigali)
26 September 2008
Posted to the web 26 September 2008
Preliminary results of an assessment on condom programmes in Rwanda have indicated that condom use in Rwanda is still low despite some improvement since 2005.
It has recommended that government boosts its strategies on condom delivery and use among its people.
"There were efforts made but what is important to note is that despite such efforts, the added value is too weak the augmentation level is totally ridiculous," said the Executive Secretary of the National HIV/AIDS Control Commission (CNLS), Dr. Agnès Binagwaho during the assessment's presentation yesterday at the commission's offices in Nyarugenge.
The assessment dubbed 'Rwanda Condom Programming Situational Analysis' is still going on under the directive of CNLS and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Its preliminary results have revealed that only 40 percent of Rwandan youths use condoms during sexual intercourse, while only two percent use them as a contraceptive method for family planning. Also according to the assessment, Rwanda is lagging behind every country in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of condom use.
Binagwaho said that the government came up with a condom policy in 2005 when its use was at one percent among those who use it for family planning, but that it was just unclear why the development of the practice is on a low pace.
"We have a big problem of sensitisation and with the assessment of the situation we have conducted, we will be able to come up with a strategy on how to improve our campaigns on the use of condoms and their distribution in the country," she said.
She also said that her commission will consult with other partners and design ways to make condoms more accessible and more usable in Rwanda, especially in rural communities.
"We have many possibilities to distribute condoms especially through community associations and we have to look at strategies to use to take condoms to these communities," Binagwaho explained as she called for more work next year.
The assessment was conducted with the technical help of John Snow Inc. (JSI), an American consulting company based in Washington.
Surveys conducted in public institutions, business places, hospitals, and among different people found out that access to condoms is not yet easy and that advertisements of condom use in the country are not enough.
The study, which will be finalised next month, recommended more finance commitments for condom programmes and the product's procurement, delivery, and promotion.
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