Despite concerns about female condoms, Mzansi women are forward thinkers. A number of studies by Health Systems Trust show Mzansi is one of the world’s largest users of female condoms.
We are nearing the end of Women’s Month, and what better way to end it than with a story that shows women DO have a say in their health and life.
In one study, 80% of women believe the female condom puts them in charge of their own sexual health.
The trust released all the study results in the South African Health Review – this is the 20th year of this report’s release.
Since the Mzansi female condom programme was piloted in 1998, it has grown to be one of the largest government-funded programmes worldwide.
“Over 27 million female condoms were distributed in Mzansi in 2015/2016, exceeding the National Strategic Plan’s annual target of 25 million last year.”
The National Department of Health said in the HIV National Strategic Plan that they also aim to prevent HIV infections and sexually-transmitted infections by increasing access to
and distribution of female and male condoms.
The study aims to check the progress of the female condom programme and one of the interesting outcomes of the study was to what extent popularity of the contraceptive device
Over 4 400 anonymous surveys found that more than 77% of people – male and female – in all nine provinces had heard about the female condom, but few had ever made use of it.
The 2014/2016 National Female Condom Evaluation Study showed the number of people who had used a female condom, and while the number is high between 20 and 29 years, it showed a gap between 18 to 20-year-olds – a targeted age bracket.
When their first month interview had arrived, 91% of 598 women had used a female condom.
The rest had not, saying that it was difficult to use and that their partners refused to use it.
When their six-month interview took place, the number of women who reported that their partners were supportive of using the female condom was 97%.
At their first month interview, 58% of males had said the female condom was much better than the male condom. By the 12th month interview, the percentage had risen to 74%.