Male sterilisation percentage in Madurai district low despite incentives

Family planning targets are being achieved largely because of the cooperation of women. Despite awareness campaigns and incentives to promote male sterilisation, men are still reluctant to undergo the simple procedure of vasectomy.

The family planning statistics of Madurai district in the last two years have shown that the share of men in birth control procedures was negligible — 0.5 per cent. Out of the 28,000 family planning surgeries performed in the district in the two years, there were only 150 vasectomies, and even these were possible only because of motivational camps conducted by doctors and health workers.

A senior Health Department official here told The Hindu on Saturday that men were not showing interest in coming forward for vasectomy and continued to harbour misconceptions.

The targets set by the Family Welfare Department were achieved only through tubectomy, thanks to the willingness of women to opt for the family planning procedure. Out of the total 14,863 family planning operations performed in the district in the year 2011-12, the number of vasectomies was only 77 and the remaining 14,786 were tubectomies. Male sterilisation percentage was only 0.58 per cent for that year.

For the period 2012-13, of the 13,103 sterilisations performed so far, vasectomies accounted for only 76.

The statistics include family planning procedures carried out in all government hospitals, private hospitals and approved family planning centres, including the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) unit.

Officials said that men are advised to volunteer for sterilisation rather than compel their spouses. “In the case of women in the high-risk category who may suffer complications during delivery, our department always motivates men to undergo the family planning procedure. In fact, vasectomy is easier than doing a tubectomy which requires a woman to take rest for one month,” an official said.

“During awareness camps in urban and rural areas, it is explained that vasectomy will take only few minutes and it does not require hospitalisation. Men can go back to work immediately. There are misconceptions among men that they will lose libido if vasectomy is done or that they will not be able to do strenuous work or lift heavy objects. Men will be doing a great justice to their life partners if they volunteer to undergo the family planning procedure. Just think about woman’s health,” a senior official said.

The health department had been organising special camps to achieve sterilisation targets set for the district — at least 100 vasectomies this fiscal. An incentive of Rs.1,100 was being given for every male who underwent vasectomy. Family planning operation theatre facility was available in 12 Block Primary Health Centres in the district, he said.

Meanwhile, the Family Planning Association of India-Madurai Branch is stepping up the campaign to encourage vasectomy. In January this year, it performed 28 vasectomies in a single camp.

“Anaemic women should not opt for family planning operation. Also, there are chances of failure in the case of tubectomy and hence we are educating men to participate actively in the family planning drive,” an official said.

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