Dutch activist uses belly tray to promote female condoms in Mumbai

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 04 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A healthcare activist from Netherlands has drawn attention to female contraceptives in an innovative manner. Beatrijs Janssen has sparked interest by carrying a belly tray peddling not sweets and cookies, but female condoms.

"I have already demonstrated it for promotion at conferences in several countries," said Janssen. Being a woman, she knows the importance of female condoms to ward off not only unwanted pregnancies but also the menace of deadly HIV/AIDS. She has become the cynosure of hundreds of healthcare experts gathered at the ongoing first Global Health Conference on Social Marketing and Social Franchising, organised by HLFPPT, a not-for-profit trust promoted by HLL Lifecare Ltd in Kochi.

Janssen is the Communication Advisor to Universal Access to Female Condoms (UAFC), a joint programme launched in 2009 by four organizations to make female condoms accessible. To promote the idea and create awareness, she, along with other activists, has been working around the globe for the last four months, carrying the belly tray laden with a range of female condoms, including contraceptives manufactured by HLL.

"I am not sure about India, but it can soon be a reality as a marketing tool and way of selling condoms. We have to modify these trays as per the preferences of the local people," Janssen said. "The prime focus is to have mobility, instead of a stationary booth to sell the condoms. Another key focus is to remove the inhibitions about contraceptives. I understand that in India also, people are reluctant to ask for a contraceptive in a drug store," she added.

At present, the belly tray is being used for promotions only. "But we are also thinking of making it a full-fledged tool to sell condoms at least in countries like Nigeria, Cameroon and Mozambique," she added. Under the UAFC, various organizations have already tried ingenious tools for marketing condoms. They have inducted female hair dressers to sell female condoms as African women spend lot of time for their hair-do.

There is no sexist bias when it comes to promoting female condoms. "In fact, half of our volunteers are men. We have to make the men also aware of the utility of female condoms," she said.

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