Catherine Bongka BAYE (
Gyneacology/Obstetrics, The University Of Yaounde I
June, 2013


INTRODUCTION: Seroprevalence of Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among women is about 5.6% compared to only 2.9% for men. In Cameroon, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country office reveals that 61 per cent of women are likely to have unwanted pregnancies because they were using one contraceptive exclusively for one year (contraceptive failure) or had unmet needs for modern contraceptives. Young women are particularly vulnerable to sexually transmissible infections (STI’s) following the prevalence trends. The female condom so far is the only female-initiated vaginal barrier and thus can be viewed as a tool for women empowerment in the prevention of STIs including HIV and as a contraceptive method. According to the Demographic Health survey (DHS) 2011, knowledge of the female condom (FC) is rated at 70% and FC use as method of contraception is 0.1%. The failure rate of the female condom is 21% typical use and 5% perfect use.
OBJECTIVES: Our main objective was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of female medical studentstowards the female condom.
METHODOLOGY: We conducted a Knowledge, attitude, practice (KAP) survey among 196 female medical students of the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé 1. Study population consisted the first, fourth and seventh year students. The aim and procedure of our study were explained in French and English to the participants. A pre-designed, tested and adapted questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic characteristics, knowledge, attitude and practice regarding the female condom. Data collected was checked then data entry was done using EPI INFO 7. The data was analyzed using STATA 10 software. The Pearson Chi-2 test was used for comparison of proportion of students to different responses. The level of statistical significance was set at p< 0.05.
RESULTS: Our study included 196 female medical students with ages ranging between 17 and 28years old with a mean age of 21±2.6 years. Most of them (93.64%) were single and a greater percentage were Christians (93.64%).Our study population consisted mainly of first years (51.53%) followed by fourth years, (31.61%) and seventh years (17.86%). The region most represented was the Centre region (25.26%). All the students knew about condoms in general and had heard about the female condom. Most, 80.61% had seen the FC. Less than half, 47.96% declared knowledge on FC use. Among which 45.74% had learnt from academic settings and only 5.32% from the television. Only 20% of the sexually active students have tried before but only 2.35% are willing to consider using it more often and 42.35% said compared to the male condom, they will never use the FC.Most students have a negative attitude towards the FC considering it weird-looking(72.38%), embarrassing (60%), difficult to use (77.14%). Of the participants, 72.86% will recommend the use of the FC to other ladies and 32.65% think it should be used in the context of family planning.
CONCLUSION: Knowledge on good use and actual use of the female condom is low despite general awareness.Only 2.35% will readily prefer to use the female condom over the male. Most students have no particular interest in the female condom and would not prefer it to the male condom thus, have not yet understood the advantages that the female condom has over the male condom for them as ladies. The barriers to the adoption of the female condom include: availability, acceptability and accessibility, the fact that female condom is weird looking, men feel it is embarrassing and it is difficult to use. From these conclusions, we recommend that mass campaigns should be organized to ameliorate knowledge on the use of the female condom and the campaigns should be extended to schools especially main institutions like medical faculties in addition to publicity on the media.

Key words: Female condom, Contraceptives, HIV, Medical students.