LIFESTYLE. In an environment where men view issues of family planning as women’s affair, Mr Pastore Madira has taken it upon himself to woe men for the procedure of vasectomy.
Though he admits that it is one of the hardest things to do, Madira says men have a greater role to play than women when it comes to birth control.
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization or permanent contraception. During the procedure, the male vas deferens are cut and tied or sealed so as to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra and thereby prevent fertilization of a female during sexual intercourse.
Madira is a resident of Ajia sub-county, Arua district, a village health team coordinator for Ajia sub-county and a community facilitator under the Prevention+ project of Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU).
The man who has so far brought 10 men for vasectomy since 2017, says many are making inquiries for the procedure which is done at RHU Arua offices.
How he started
Madira started his work about 19 years after getting some training from Marie stops Uganda, Hand Reach, and RHU which has since motivated him to encourage men to go for the procedure.
Who qualifies for the procedure?
According to Madira, all male consenting adults who have discussed the matter and agreed about it are the ones who qualify.
“Some men come running to me to help them, one told me he already had enough children and looking after them has become a problem to him while another told me his wife always has difficulties in giving birth which makes her have it through caesarian section,” he narrated.
Madira says in all conditions, men come with different reasons as to why they want the procedure to be done on them while some women also request for their wombs to be removed “but I advise them to at least first reach 40 years of age.”
“In my community engagements, I tell them that land does not multiply and that we should produce a manageable number of children that we can look after, I also tell them about various types of family planning and tell them to make their choices”, Madira explains.
His challenge has mostly been with the religious and some conservatives who out rightly reject it. He says his main challenge has been with the Catholics and the Muslim community who hate things to do with family planning and birth control.
Madira says the future of family planning in the district is bright since men now are realizing the importance of a manageable family. He says men now come out voluntarily to inquire about vasectomy.
Other factors are the male champions who underwent the procedure, realized its benefits and that are now the ones spreading the news about it to other men.
What RHU says
Mr Geoffrey Ogutu, the project officer of Prevention+ at RHU Arua branch says “as RHU, we realized that there is no empowerment of women without engaging men as one of the key hindrances to women’s economic empowerment.”
“So at the beginning of the program, we decided to design interventions that bring men on board and actively support the promotion of rights of women as well as access to sexual reproductive services,” Ogutu added.
He says the project built the capacity of women to engage their spouses into conversations around reproductive health and gender-based violence and gender equality which has also witnessed men sharing roles.
Uganda’s target is to reduce the high fertility rate from 6.7 children per woman (2010) to four children per woman and population growth from 3.2% to 2.4 % by 2040 and reduce unmet need for family planning to 10%.