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‘Male participation in family planning poor'

Afshan Yasmeen

‘Even educated men hesitate to undergo NSV'


99 p.c. of those who underwent sterilisation in 2008-09 were women

Allocation for Karnataka for family planning for 2010-11 is Rs. 56.62 crore


Bangalore: When it comes to family planning, it appears women in Karnataka far outdo their male counterparts. No less than 99 per cent of those who underwent sterilisation during 2008-09 were women, while men accounted for a meagre 0.617 per cent.

According to an analysis of figures collated from the Department of Health and Family Welfare under the Centre's National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), male participation in family planning (permanent method or no-scalpel vasectomy - NSV) is as low as 0.617 per cent.

NSV, one of the most effective contraceptive methods available for males, is an improvement on the conventional vasectomy with practically no side effects or complications, according to doctors.

Incentive

Although this method is offered to men who have completed their families, as an incentive-based project by the Union Government, even educated men hesitate to undergo the procedure. Men who undergo the procedure in Government hospitals get an incentive of Rs. 1,100 and people who motivate them get Rs. 200. “It is a nearly painless procedure. Yet, men are reluctant to undergo it either because of the fear of surgery or because of male pride and wrong notions of shame,” senior NSV surgeon Prakash Reddy said.

False impression

“There is a false impression about NSV among men that it can cause loss of sexual activity, impotency, loss of strength. While some fear that the procedure can be a failure, some others do not understand the concept behind the technique,” he said.

NSV was mooted by the Union Government in the late 1990s to ensure that men also share the responsibility of population control. Allocation from the Centre for Karnataka for family planning for 2010-11 is Rs. 56.62 crore.

Changing trend

M.R. Mohan Raju, State Project Director (Reproductive Child Health, which includes Family Planning), told The Hindu on Sunday that the trend was gradually changing.

Training

“We have trained 128 doctors in the last one year to conduct NSV across the State. While we conducted 1,956 NSVs during 2008-09, the number increased to 3,457 during 2009-10. We have conducted 650 NSVs so far this year. But, we have miles to go…” he said.

Explaining that the total fertility rate (average number of children born per woman during her lifetime) in Karnataka is two at present, Dr. Mohan Raju said: “We have almost reached the replacement rate.”

The replacement rate is defined as the total fertility rate at which newborn girls will have an average of exactly one daughter over their lifetimes.

In simple terms, women have just enough babies to replace themselves, he explained.

World Population Day will be observed by the State Government on Monday.

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