2015 International Women Day was celebrated in many ways in Nigeria. ARFH, a non-profit that works to empower women and families wasn’t left behind. ARFH, though the Female Condom Advocacy team commemorate the day with advocacy activities including a visit to the Director Family Health Division of the FMoH, Dr. Wapada Balami and Director General of National Agency for Control of AIDs (NACA) represented by respectively Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu (Director Program Coordination) and Dr. Yinka Falola-Anoemuah (Assistant Director).
The Female Condom Advocacy team comprising of staff of: ARFH, EVA, SFH and CIS-FP conducted advocacy visits to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) on the 10th of March 2015 and to Federal Ministry of Health on 17th of March 2015.
Speaking at during the meeting, Mrs. Osinwo, ARFH Director of Programs, appreciated the efforts of the FMOH on FC programming in Nigeria especially funding commitments made by government towards procurement of FP commodities, the review and development of policies e.g. the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) Strategic Plan, Family Planning Blue Print for Nigeria, the planning and commemoration of Global Female Condom Day 2014, the review of National Condom Strategy e.t.c. The need to further improve on visibility of FCs in health facilities so as to increase demand was also extensively discussed at these meetings.
The FCAP team shared various advocacy materials as well as displayed samples of the varieties of female condoms. It is worthy of note that a significant number of top FMOH staff present at the meeting were seeing the varieties of FCs for the first time aside the FC2 which they were used to. The FMOH team appreciated the need for varieties which will go a long way in addressing the preferences of different users and therefore increase demand and use of FCs.
In response the Dr Balami and his team agreed on the need to empower women on communication with respect to use of contraceptives particularly the FCs. The central role of men in FC use was also extensively discussed and the UAFC annual report publication with the title: Female Condoms Can’t do without Men were shared which further showed the FMOH that the UAFC program recognizes the central role of male involvement and had been engaging males on FC programming.
At the end of the visit, Dr. Wapada Balami reaffirmed the Ministry commitment to work with stakeholders on Female Condom programming and confirmed that the Ministry has inaugurated a comprehensive planning committee comprising of her staff and other relevant agencies of government, CSOs and development partners towards the successful commemoration of Global Female Condom Day 2015. Similar advocacy visit had previously been conducted to FMoH and NACA in 2013 and 2014.
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