Thou­sands to be ster­il­ized in global ‘va­sec­tomy-athon’

Mis­sion to en­cour­age men to take a big­ger role in fam­ily plan­ning

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

GIAN­YAR, In­done­sia: Thou­sands of men around the world are to be ster­il­ized yes­ter­day in what or­ga­niz­ers dubbed a global “va­sec­tomy-athon”, to en­cour­age men to take a big­ger role in fam­ily plan­ning and com­bat re­sis­tance to the pro­ce­dure.

Some 750 doc­tors in 25 coun­tries are to per­form the pro­ce­dure on more than 3,000 vol­un­teers to mark World Va­sec­tomy Day, with many oper­a­tions be­ing pro­vided for free or at dis­counted rates. “In help­ing to shoul­der re­spon­si­bil­ity for fam­ily plan­ning, men be­come he­roes to their part­ners, to their fam­i­lies and to our fu­ture,” said event co-founder Jonathan Stack.

The event is be­ing held as a re­port from cam­paign­ers and donors warned ef­forts to get mod­ern con­tra­cep­tives to women in some of the world’s poor­est coun­tries are not on track, with mil­lions fewer reached than had been hoped. At a cer­e­mony in a tem­ple on the In­done­sian is­land of Bali, the head­quar­ters for World Va­sec­tomy Day this year, the first six men to un­dergo the pro­ce­dure were pre­sented to an au­di­ence be­fore be­ing taken out­side to mo­bile health clin­ics to be ster­il­ized.

The men lay on an op­er­at­ing ta­ble in the clin­ics-buses fit­ted out with med­i­cal equip­ment-while doc­tors per­formed the short pro­ce­dure, which in­volves cut­ting the tubes which trans­port sperm from the tes­ti­cles, un­der a lo­cal anaes­thetic. Va­sec­tomies were also be­ing car­ried out to mark the day in coun­tries in­clud­ing In­dia, the United States and Spain. Around four in 10 preg­nan­cies world­wide are un­planned and event or­ga­niz­ers said that fam­ily plan­ning is still too of­ten left to women, who are the ones who must deal with the con­se­quences of un­in­tended preg­nan­cies. In many coun­tries, less than one per­cent of men get va­sec­tomies, de­spite the fact the pro­ce­dure is safe and in the ma­jor­ity of cases has no ef­fect on sex life, the or­ga­niz­ers said.

World­wide re­sis­tance In Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity In­done­sia, ef­forts to per­suade men to get va­sec­tomies have been ham­pered af­ter the coun­try’s top Is­lamic cler­i­cal body sev­eral years ago de­clared the pro­ce­dure “haram”, or against Is­lamic law. Other at­tempts to en­cour­age va­sec­tomies have back­fired. A dis­trict on Su­ma­tra an­nounced in 2012 it would hand out cash to civil ser­vants who un­der­went the pro­ce­dure-only for the move to spark anger from women who feared their ster­il­ized hus­bands would have af­fairs.

Else­where around the world the pro­ce­dure is bur­dened by con­tro­ver­sies, and in many coun­tries cam­paign­ers have to over­come the mis­guided be­lief that it im­pairs a man’s viril­ity. Iran re­cently elim­i­nated free va­sec­tomies, as it seeks to im­prove its birth rate, and there has even been re­sis­tance from ex­perts in sub­Sa­ha­ran Africa, who have ex­pressed con­cern that wide­spread use of va­sec­tomy would lead to lower us­age of con­doms and so higher HIV rates.

Prom­i­nent va­sec­tomy doc­tor Doug Stein, who has per­formed the pro­ce­dure on more than 30,000 men and founded World Va­sec­tomy Day with Stack, told the Bali au­di­ence that the op­er­a­tion was pos­i­tive for men, their fam­i­lies and so­ci­eties. “It seems to be a won­der­ful op­tion for men who have had as many chil­dren as they want,” he said.

Fri­day’s event was the third World Va­sec­tomy Day, with the first held in 2013 and head­quar­tered in Aus­tralia. Or­ga­niz­ers chose to base this year’s event in Bali to co­in­cide with an in­ter­na­tional fam­ily plan­ning con­fer­ence that had been due to take place on the is­land, but which was post­poned af­ter vol­canic ash closed Bali air­port for days. —AFP


BALI: A med­i­cal staff ex­plains a va­sec­tomy op­er­a­tion to a Ba­li­nese man in Gian­yar on Bali is­land yes­ter­day.

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