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Union health minister launches affordable Made in India 'Velvet' female condom
The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda formally launched India's indigenously developed natural latex-based female condom, seeking to expand the basket of contraceptive choices, reduce unwanted pregnancies and provide quality healthcare products at affordable cost.

Manufactured by HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) under the brand name 'Velvet', the contraceptive was launched yesterday at the two-day National Family Planning Summit. The conclave had "New Choices, New Horizons" as its theme.

"The female condom provides complete protection and gives women more control over safe sex. It is all about empowering women. It is the only woman-initiated method of contraception that serves a dual protection - prevention of pregnancy and of HIV/AIDS," the minister said.

"It has the potential to become a game-changer for women through control over their reproductive freedom. It will also go a long way in meeting the unmet contraceptive needs and thus check the burgeoning population of the country," he added.

HLL's female condom 'Velvet' recently obtained the World Health Organisation's (WHO) pre-qualification, making it eligible for institutional procurement under donor-funded programmes. Female condoms prevent both pregnancies and infections and give women more control over protection during sex. The product has a shelf life of five years. It is similar to the male condom in both efficacy and reliability.

The new latex version of female condom is designed and developed totally in-house by the scientists of HLL's R&D Centre at Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).

"The objective of HLL's R&D center is to provide men and women the best and affordable reproductive health solutions. Enabling women to make decisions about when to have children will not only reduce unplanned pregnancies but also lead to healthier families and communities," said Dr M Ayyappan, CMD, HLL.

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