Dr Angela El-Adas, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has said 125,141 persons out of the estimated 225,000 Ghanaians living with HIV and AIDS are women
She said according to the scientific evidence emerging over the three decades of global HIVand AIDS pandemic reports, the percentage of HIV infected women was to be rising worldwide.
According to World Health Organization WHO, 60% of persons living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa are women, Dr El-Adis said at the first female condom conference held on Wednesday in Accra.
She said the GAC was committed to addressing HIV and its effects on women through a number of interventions such as advocating the correct and consistent use of female condoms.
She said the conference was a platform to revisit the issues on women reproductive health and the role of female condoms in ensuring a healthy family life.
Dr El-Adis said the correct use of the female condom would prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases resulting in infertility, blockage of fallopian tube and pelvic inflammatory diseases in women
Following the re-launch of the female condom by the Ghana Health Service which had been out of stock for 22 years, approximately 1.3 million had been made available in the country presently to ensure accessibility to the product
“Despite the evidence on the benefits derived from the consistent use of the condoms, patronage and usage of female condoms had been very low.” She said
SWAA Ghana is a pan African women’s organization aimed at empowering women to achieve quality sexual and reproductive health and rights through advocacy.
Ms. Nancy Ansah, President of SWAA, said that the conference was aimed at ensuring sustained female condom procurement and advocacy leading to effective promotion and distribution in the country resulting in improvement in reproductive health and rights for all.
She said that the female condom was very important because it is the only female control tool against HIV and AIDS and STIs as well as an effective tool for planning reproduction.
The Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV and AIDS said in Ghana 15,000 of the estimated 225,000 Ghanaians living with HIV and AIDS die annually with women forming the majority hence there was the need for all women, civil societies to join in the campaign for fighting the endemic with use of female condoms to the end
“We would want to see the realization and integration of female condoms in HIV and AIDS reproductive health programmes at all levels for effective and efficient update without any fear of intimidation,” it said.
Dr. Bernard Coquelin, United Nations Population Fund UNFPA Representative in Ghana, said that UNFPA would continue to lay emphasis on and support the reproductive health commodity security and was committed to strengthening capacities of government and civil societies like SWAA to reposition family planning in Ghana.