It has been over a decade since the female condom was introduced in the world market and up to now, it is the only available female-oriented method of preventing sexuallytransmitted diseases as well as pregnancy. It was invented to supplement the male condom,and it was praised as the best thing to help women gain control over disease protection. Beingthe major killer, HIV and AIDS, amongst women in the reproductive age bracket andapproximately 75% of women globally having to use unprotected sex (Halperin et al, 2011).
Therefore, the objective of a Female Health Company to commercialize the female condomin India, Africa and Latin America would prove to be a sacrosanct mission if it lives to see thelight of the day. However, there is a myriad of challenges that may hinder the expansion planas well cultural barriers as discussed below. To begin with, the expansion project would be curtailed by the low priority given tofemale condoms in India, Africa and Latin America.
From the Reproductive HealthInterchange’s report, approximately 1.3% of the total condoms procured by global donors arefemale condoms. Furthermore, in the year 2010, 99.3- percent of the condoms purchased bythe United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to distribute to developing countries, mostlyfound in Africa and Latin America, were male condoms with only 0.7% being femalecondoms (Halperin et al, 2011). This is a clear indication that female condoms are lesspreferred compared to male condoms. Therefore, competition from male condoms wouldhinder the intended expansion mission.
Consequently, the expansion plan would be slowed down by the relatively high costof production associated with the female condoms. This creates a vicious cycle of parameterswhich might derail the expansion plan. Due to financial constraints in Africa, India and Latin Female Health Company 3 America, it would be hard for the respective national governments to procure femalecondoms leaving a significant number of potential users oblivious to this commodity.Additionally, illiteracy levels are astonishingly high in these target markets making it hard forthe Female Health Company to promote female condom’s uptake (Halperin et al, 2011).
For a Female Health Company to penetrate into these untapped markets (Africa, Indiaand Latin America). There is the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to createawareness in these continents that the FCs are user-friendly, a viable tool to prevent STIs aswell as pregnancy. The funding issue ought to be looked at, as the economies of thesecontinents cannot support heavy investments into relatively expensive female condoms. Allthese factors coupled together reduce the demand for female condoms hence making it hardfor female health companies to invest in these new markets. A female health company eyeing to venture into the above-named markets cannotescape dealing with certain cultural barriers in its quest to promote this product. Precisely, inthe African continent men have been accorded the utmost rule over women as well as makingcritical sexual decisions. For instance, in the Republic of South Africa, female condoms arepart and parcel of the national family planning program.
But it has been reported that partnerobjection was the major reason women stopped using the method. African men believe thatby letting women use female condoms, it gives them unwanted control over sex. In mostcases, this male chauvinistic behaviour insinuates unprotected sex. In Zimbabwe,approximately 25% of women cited that their partners rejected female condoms and 50% ofthese women ultimately had unprotected sex (Halperin et al, 2011). Therefore, it would behard for female health companies to make a sale after venturing into Africa. Female Health Company 4In India and Latin America, women are more dependent economically on men hence hindering their ability to advance safe sex talks in marriage and outside). More so, there islimited knowledge on HIV/AIDS amongst women especially commercial sex workers.
LatinAmerica and India are multiple language societies hence there is limited privacy accorded tofemale condom buyers which lead to stigmatization (Chattopadhyay & McKaig, 2004).Women stigmatization in these countries is subject to limited education, resources andresiding in marginalised areas with little or no health knowledge. Therefore, it is evident that a female health company would have to overcome variouscultural setbacks as well as other vital limits in its quest for expansion into the African, Asianand Latin American countries.