|Launching and Promoting the Female Condom in Eastern and Southern Africa (UNAIDS, 1999, 25 p.)|
|II. Major themes|
This consultation offered participants the opportunity to learn from other country experiences. Specifically, the vast differences in experiences within the region were highlighted. Since countries within the region have such varied levels of experience, it is important for those countries with greater experience in the promotion of the female condom to share this information with others. Countries about to launch programmes including the female condom should network with countries with more experience.
Individual participants were encouraged to make personal connections with other delegates and it is their responsibility to continue with this networking. One cluster of countries pushed this notion further and agreed to meet one month from the meeting to pursue a sub-regional strategy. Copies of the list of participants were updated at the meeting (see p. 14 for updated list). In addition, USAID is putting together an electronic listserv through email to provide a forum for discussion on the female condom.
Sharing of resources and documents is an important concern for all members. The participants intensively reviewed general documents focusing on policy, cost- effectiveness, and IEC materials. Constructive comments will be incorporated into the documents before they are sent to the participants. Countries that are still planning on launching the female condom need to consult more directly with those countries that have already launched, offering them an opportunity to see programes first hand and to understand more specifically the development of IEC materials.
Despite the fact that countries felt the need to conduct their own acceptability studies, participants still felt that it was important to have access to existing studies. Many felt that the introduction of the female condom into a countrys method mix offered an important opportunity to re-examine existing training materials and philosophies that distinguish between contraception and disease prevention. They saw this as a way to articulate the national commitment to reproductive health at a programmatic level. Information on training needs to be shared. Those countries that have developed materials on training, education, and promotion for the female condom are interested in collectively reviewing their materials in the hopes of creating a core curriculum that could be used as a template for other countries within the region.
Collaboration between countries could take the following forms: networking, exchange visits, regional and sub-regional meetings, and comparative studies. Participants agreed to begin this collaboration.