A recent report released by the National Health Mission Survey (NHMS) stated that the burden of family planning continues to rest upon the shoulders of women in India. The report, which was released on Monday, said that between 2017 and 2018, a little over 93% of all sterilisations performed in India were on women, while only 6.8% was done of men.
Even though the present numbers have come down from the earlier 98%, the numbers still show the fact that a significant share of the burden of contraception falls upon women.
The 11th Common Mission Review (CMR) which was released on June 18 by union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey cited the latest statistics from the Health Management Information System (HMIS) where states uploaded data on various parameters of NHM including sterilisations, reported The Indian Express.
The report stated, “Women continue to bear an uneven burden of the terminal methods of family planning and sterilisation. As per HMIS in 2017-18 (till October) of the total 14,73,418 sterilisation procedures, only 6.8% were male sterilisation while 93.1% were female sterilisation”. The report further states that male sterilisation services are still inadequate in our country, which might explain the imbalance in the statistics.
Why the imbalance?
According to the experts quoted in the report, Indian men are reluctant to undergo sterilisation owing to social taboos, historical experiences and logistical limitations as well. Practices of forced sterilisation during the Emergency period has not only given it a bad reputation but has also created misinformation about the procedure in general. There is also a lack of male health workers which makes the task of educating men about the procedure difficult.
Even though many efforts have been made by CMR to make male sterilisation more acceptable, it has found that non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) services are available in very few facilities, reported the daily.
Male sterilisation or vasectomy is the process of cutting or tying the Vas Deferens, the duct that carries sperm from the testes to the urethra to prevent it from releasing it for fertilisation. The Logical Indian spoke with a doctor who said that a vasectomy is much easier and reversible than a female hysterectomy and that the NSV procedure is also available at Tertiary Health Care centres.
However, according to him, more females than males turn up for the surgery since men feel that they might end up losing their manhood if they undergo surgery.
The report also stated that Out Of Pocket Expenditure remained high in most of the states that were visited, which means these expenditures are not reimbursed by any insurance.
Also Read: Prioritizing Reproductive Rights: The Continuing Struggle For Quality Of Care In Family Planning Services