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Female Condom 'Dream Come True For Ghanaians' First Lady of


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 First Lady.

"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 Company/

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Information in this article was accurate in June 1, 2000. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.