BioVoice News December 2016-January 2017 Issue 8 Volume 1 - Page 23

What is the relevance of ‘ World Vasectomy Day ’ in Indian context ?

The key take away for India on World Vasectomy Day is to prioritize men ’ s participation in family planning . It is unfortunate that men are often left out of the dialogue and public discourse – whether it is the way we address the issues or the way we program our interventions . There is evidence to show that men do not participate in discussions or make decisions informed by facts about family planning . The burden of family planning and contraception has always been on women and it is time that we shift the focus to both men and women for taking equal responsibility for family planning . I would like to share some ‘ wake up statistics ’ with you . Given the 48.5 percent use of modern contraception methods , men ’ s total contribution is only 6.2 percent ( condoms is 5.2 percent and less than 1 percent male sterilization ). According to the National Family Health Survey ( NFHS ) III data , 22 percent men feel that contraception is women ’ s business . We need to stop referring to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights as women ' s issues . They are as much men ' s issues , they are society ’ s issues ; they are moral issues ; they are ethical issues ; they are issues of social justice and human dignity . The relevance for men on this day is to encourage them to stand up for their children , their wives and their future .
Why do you say that the Indian men don ' t participate in the family planning ? Isn ' t it the men only who decide on it mostly ?
Male participation should not mean that women ’ s decision making powers are encumbered and women are forced to accept the choice that men decide on . Studies reveal that men often control contraception decision making and decision of contraception of female partners , particularly in the context of prevalence of intimate partner violence , which can impede contraceptive use as well as

As per NFHS III , only 27 percent of women make decisions about their own health care . 30 percent of husbands decide about women ’ s healthcare in the household . Only 35 percent decisions are taken jointly by the wife and husband .

increase risk for contraceptive failure . As per NFHS III , only 27 percent of women make decisions about their own health care . 30 percent of husbands decide about women ’ s healthcare in the household . Only 35 percent decisions are taken jointly by the wife and husband . Male participation is not just about decision making . It is about being responsible and respecting equality . The decisions should be well informed and not coercive . We must also ensure that men ’ s participation does not infringe either women or men ’ s reproductive and human rights .
We must also recognize that family planning is not merely about regulating numbers and access to contraception , family planning is truly about human agency . Family Planning is about individual freedoms and choices that both women and men need to exercise with volition and consent . Systematic and sustained engagement of men in health and family planning , not just as the clients but as responsible partners to women has the potential to improve access and use of family planning services to bridge the gap of unmet need of contraception ( 12.8 percent - According to NFHS III ). Male engagement in family planning should improve men ’ s and women ’ s reproductive health and promote gender equality and women ’ s empowerment . Male involvement in programs will need to change notions of family planning as only a women ’ s issue , we must exercise caution not to further increase men ’ s decision making power or to decrease women ’ s rights to make decisions about their own bodies .
What measures do you suggest to the government on population control ? How can NGOs play a role in this ?
PFI does not believe in population control and has worked hard to shift the discourse from control to population stabilization . In fact , post the ICPD Conference in Cairo in 1994 , there has been a paradigm shift in India as well as at the international level and population stabilization is increasing gaining currency . The emphasis on family planning in a population stabilization framework has further increased after the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning .
Often population stabilization
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