Despite many campaigns to promote female condom use, the contraceptive is still new and unpopular amongst Rwandan youth, the Minister of Youth, Protais Mitali, has said.
“Though condoms are given out for free in health centres, youths are still shying away from using them.
There is need for further advocacy and education on benefits associated with its use,” Mitali said.
Contrary to Population Service International’s (PSI) earlier revelation that the use of female condoms, known as Femidoms, was hindered by scarcity and their cost, the Minister noted that it newness was largely the cause of limited use.
PSI is a global health organisation operating in Rwanda, which develops commercial marketing strategies in programmes that target HIV/AIDS, malaria, reproductive health and child survival.
The Minister was speaking on Friday at the closure of a five-day United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) workshop that attracted representatives from ten African countries.
Mitali added that the government is in the process on integrating a special curriculum in schools that will focus on teaching students and pupils about contraceptive use as well as reproductive health education and related issues.
“Reproductive health trainings need to be reinforced more in schools to intervene on related challenges that are facing the youth today.”
The Minister revealed that inauguration of community based youth training centres is also ongoing.
This is expected to facilitate reproductive health, contraceptives use, life skills, and entrepreneurship trainings of young people who are not in school.
“The government realised the importance of young people in development and hence the desire to focus on interventions to address issues facing them,” Mitali remarked.
UNFPA’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Chief, Laura Laski also reaffirmed the need to focus more on reproductive health interventions for children between ages 10-14 who remain ignored until now.
“There is need to position young people on better reproductive health and livelihood status by addressing their age specific needs and…to reinforce awareness of risks through education…,” Laski said.
She said efforts should not just concentrate on prevention of sexual risks but also for mechanisms that would support those living with HIV/Aids.
Visiting delegates at the workshop were from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia.