ACCRA, Ghana, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Female Health Company
(OTC Bulletin Board: FHCO) announced the launch of the female
condom in Ghana on May 25, 2000. Her Excellency Nana Konadu
Agyeman Rawlings, the First Lady of Ghana presided over the
official launch stating "The female condom is a long awaited
global dream come true for Ghanaians this day!"
More than 1,200 Ghanaians joined in a day of celebration,
dancing, singing and drama to usher in the female condom. The
First Lady, a long-time advocate for human rights and women's
empowerment, emphasised the importance of giving women more
control over their own reproductive health.
"The female condom offers all women (and especially women at
the grassroots) an important extra choice," she said.
"Because of economic, social and gender inequalities, women are
ill-placed to get their partners to use male condoms. Women
must often yield their control over sexual relations out of
economic necessity or fear of violence," said the First Lady.
"Now, the female condom will give Ghanaian women a greater
voice in sexual and contraceptive decision making."
The First Lady also described recent research in various areas
in Ghana where "women affirmed that the introduction of the
female condom into a relationship gives them an opportunity to
communicate about safer sex more successfully."
"Since the female condom is worn by women themselves, it is
found to be empowering and is particularly more popular where
men are reluctant to use condoms themselves," emphasised the
"The female condom will offer Ghanaian women an opportunity for
empowerment by acting as a catalyst to strengthen their sexual
decision making," she said. "We in Ghana have the female
condom today! Let us accept it wholeheartedly and fully reap
its benefits," concluded the First Lady.
The launch of the female condom is the culmination of extensive
strategic planning by the Ministry of Health, the Joint United
Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA), the Ghana Social Marketing Foundation
and the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA). The
development of the Ghana project has been assisted by a new
FHCO/UNAIDS/WHO publication, "The Female Condom: A Guide for
Planning and Programming."
The guide highlights the importance of training and
communications to support the introduction of the female
condom, and these issues were cornerstones of the Ghana launch.
"I am pleased to announce that in less than one month, more
than 3,000 medical and non-medical service providers have been
trained to provide the female condom," explained the Minister
of Health of Ghana, Prof. K. Danso-Boafo, at the launch.
In addition to supplying the female condom, the Female Health
Company is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health
and UNAIDS to develop and implement the programme in Ghana.
"The Female Condom is gaining more and more recognition as an
important option for women in the developing world," said Mary
Ann Leeper, President of The Female Health Company. "Just last
week, women in Swaziland called on the government to make the
Female Condom more accessible to them," she said.
"Political commitment, community involvement and partnerships,
as demonstrated in Ghana, between country ministries of health,
NGOs, world public health agencies such as UNAIDS and WHO, and
companies such as the Female Health Company, will ultimately
result in strong and successful prevention campaigns against
the terrible HIV/AIDS pandemic," Leeper said.
"We are delighted to work with UNAIDS as part of the
International Partnership against AIDS in Africa, and we look
forward to replicating the success in Ghana throughout the
Partnership countries," said Mitchell Warren, Vice President of
International Affairs for the Female Health Company. Warren
attended the Ghana launch and works closely with Ministries of
Health, UNAIDS and WHO to develop materials and train
in-country personnel to implement prevention campaigns.
The Female Health Company, based in Chicago, owns certain
worldwide rights to The Female Condom(TM) including patents
which have been issued in the United States, United Kingdom,
Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, The People's Republic of
China, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia. The
Female Condom(TM) is the only available product controlled by a
woman that protects against sexually transmitted diseases
including HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancy.
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Action of 1995: The statements in this release which are
not historical fact are forward-looking statements based upon
the Company's current plans and strategies, and reflect the
Company's current assessment of the risks and uncertainties
related to its business, including such things as product
demand and market acceptance; the economic and business
environment and the impact of governmental regulations, both in
the United States and abroad; the effects of competitive
products and pricing pressures; currency risks; capacity;
efficiency and supply constraints; and other risks detailed in
the Company's press releases, shareholder communication and
Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Actual events
affecting the Company and the impact of such events on the
Company's operations may vary from those currently anticipated.
For more information about the Female Health Company, dial
toll-free via fax, 1-800-PRO-INFO and enter company code
"FHCO." Also, visit the Company's Web site at
SOURCE The Female Health Company
CONTACT: Investors, William R. Gargiulo, Jr., 231-526-1244, or
Product, Mary Ann Leeper, Ph.D., 312-280-1119, ext. 223, or
Media, Jennifer Furey, 312-397-6032, all for The Female Health
Web Site: /http://www.femalehealth.com /