February 22, 2018 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Sierra Leone Social Marketing and Development Agency (SLaDA) has commemorated World Condom Day at a symposium held at Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown, with the theme ‘Condom Always in Fashion.’
International world Condom Day (ICD), which is celebrated across the globe on February 14, promotes the use of condoms as a means of preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
For this year’s celebration, SLaDA hosted the symposium on Monday (19 February), which attracted participants from the Ministry of Health, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, youth groups and technical vocational institutions, among host of others.
National Director of SLaDA, Ruth Marcella Davis Kpundeh, said their organisation was doing a lot of programmes including social aspect of HIV and AIDS prevention, which is being implemented by CARE International in Sierra Leone.
She said they saw the need for local organization to intervene in the social marketing aspect of HIV and AIDS prevention programme, hence CARE international and National Aids Secretariat and other partners initiated the programme.
“This symposium will give opportunity to members of the public to know about our unique products and how they are being used. It would also create the enabling environment for the public to know about SLaDA,” she said.
She stated that SLaDA was established in 2012 based on CARE’s incremental transitional sustainability plan for condoms and social marketing, with funding from KFW-Federal Republic of Germany- through the National AIDS Secretariat.
She said since the inception of their organisation, they have been working with communities across the country to promote measurable and sustainable health, livelihood, family care and community development through participatory, integrated, multi-level advocacy, social marketing and health communications.
In her keynote address, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madina Rahaman, said that the commemoration of International world Condom Day started in 2009 and that since its inception it has been an informal observance celebration in conjunction with Valentine’s Day.
She said the aim of the day’s celebration was to promote safer sex awareness in a fun and creative way, while encouraging people to use condoms.
“With sexually transmitted diseases on the rise in Sierra Leone and around the world, protecting oneself and one’s partner is more important than ever,” she said.
She said Sierra Leone has been part of the commemoration with different activities, including concert, fashion shows, radio discussion, football competitions and street performances since the inception.
She said the ministry’s aim was to make safer sex sweeter and fashionable, thus calling on all partner stakeholders to remove the ideological barriers to condom access.