ARFH Enhances Visibility of Female Condom in Nigeria: Distributes Counselling Guidelines and Posters Throughout Nigeria
The Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) has secured the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria towards increasing the uptake of Female Condom as a Family Planning method.
ARFH, through the Federal Ministry of Health produced and distributed to all states, flyers on how to use Female Condom (FC), awareness posters and elaborate guidelines for use by health services providers in counselling family planning clients in Nigeria. These counselling tools will be in most health facilities in all local governments to bridge the knowledge gap about FCs and increase the number of people that use in the prevention of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. Dr Kayode Afolabi, Director, Federal Ministry of Health, presented the poster and other counselling tools to Reproductive Health focal persons in various states for eventual distribution in Local Government Areas.
The tools were first developed in 2016, by ARFH with funding support from Rutgers, but were reviewed and improved in 2017. ARFH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health with funding support from RUTGERs, Netherlands through the Universal Access to Female Condom Joint Programme (UAFC) implemented a short term grant from January to March 2017 to evaluate, review and improve on the female condom (FC) counselling tools in Nigeria.
The project was termed “Increasing Access to Female Condom Counselling Tools for Health Service Providers in Nigeria”.
Three categories of Information, Education and Counselling materials produced on the project were; counselling guide leaflet for health care professionals, educational flyer for FC users, and publicity posters to educate the general public about FC.
These improved tools are expected to help health service providers in all communities nationwide to provide accurate information about female condoms to clients during counselling sessions. To review and modify these tools, facility mapping, to determine clinics that provide FC and clinics that offer FC, was done in selected local government areas for the research. One of the major inclusions in the flyer for dissemination to the general public is the section on ‘How to use a Female Condom’.
As many clients and health service providers complained, the information on gap on how to use the FC in the counselling tools prior to this modification overwhelmed service providers who have never used FC during counselling sessions. Having modified the flyer to have that information, it is believed that the improvement will go a long way in sustaining the provision of correct information and counselling access for counsellors in FP clinics and most importantly, increase FC uptake in Nigeria.
Participants of the pre-test exercise expressed interest in creating daily awareness of female condom in their respective communities. The media involvement led to publications of stories decrying the low uptake of FC and lack of awareness so as to inspire support from all sectors. The publication by Thisday Newspaper and others cited that ‘Less than 1% Use of Female Condom by Nigerian Women has been recorded’ (https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/04/20/female-condom-less-than-1-compliance-recorded-in-nigeria/).
In advocating for increased FC uptake, the publication by Business Day Newspaper ‘advocated for extensive education on FC usage’ (http://www.businessdayonline.com/association-calls-extensive-civic-education-female-condom-usage/). The Authority Newspaper’s publication promoted Female Condom by stating that ‘Female Condom is good for family planning and prevents STIs’. (http://authorityngr.com/2017/04/Female-condom-good-for-family-planning-prevents-STIs-Expert/).
Most FC stakeholders have accepted the reviewed counselling tools and all agree that any development partner who wishes can reproduce copies for distribution in Nigeria.
Having been accepted as national tools, ARFH has produced thousands of copies that will be disseminated to facilities in all 774 local government areas in Nigeria.
The improved FC counseling are currently being shared nationwide, and also to the FC international advocacy platform and other national and global media as part of our sustainability drive for Female Condom Advocacy in Nigeria.
The 4-paged leaflet – “Guide for Health Professionals to Inform Clients about Female Condom.”