THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is concerned at the low uptake of female condoms at a time cases of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) are spiking.
This comes as National Aids Council (Nac) figures reveal that women are leading in the number of new STI infections as people were indulging in risky sexual behaviour during this Covid-19 pandemic.
A recent council report indicated that the health committee had noted that the female condom was hugely unpopular.
“Councillor S Moyo was concerned about low promotion of the female condom (femidom). Unlike the male condom, femidom was not popular.
“Councillor J Ndlovu felt that most women were too shy to collect or use the female condom. Women must be encouraged to use the female condom as it empowers them,” read the report.
The city fathers further noted that it was important for women to be encouraged through various advocacy platforms to use the femidom to help in the fight against HIV/Aids and STIs.
The councillors also bemoaned that the male condom was more distributed in public places compared to the female one, a development which they said was working against women empowerment.
“The chairperson, councillor S Mutanda, noted that the female condom had a very low usage. The male condom was distributed more compared to the female condom. In public buildings, it was common to have a male condom being distributed,” the report read.
In his submission during the deliberations, the director of health services, Edwin Sibanda, said efforts would be made to promote the femidom across the city.
According to Nac, Bulawayo recorded 7 455 STI cases during the first nine months of 2020 with reports that women accounted for 63 percent.
The province recorded an increase during the third quarter, from July to September, where a total of 2 930 cases were recorded and women accounted for 1 857 of those infections.
Nac noted that during the first quarter, 957 men were infected with STIs compared to 1 678 females.
The figures went down for both men and women as 679 and 1 193 cases were recorded respectively during the second quarter.
Of the total 7 455 men and women who acquired STIs during the nine months, 484 were also found to be HIV-positive and 306 of them were women.
The council also noted that despite the high STIs figures recorded in Bulawayo, 836 236 condoms were distributed in the city.