Sterilisation Fortnight

Only 14 men turn up in comparison to 188 women at camps

Figures reflective of myth mongering, prevalent patriarchy in society, says doc

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 5

Out of the 202 people who opted for sterilisation during recent camps by the district health department, a majority of them were women.

NSVs vs Tubectomy

  • For the past over two decades, only non-scalpel vasectomies (NSVs) are being conducted for men, which is a simple, quick procedure
  • In tubectomies conducted on women, one has to make an incision in their abdomen for the laparoscopic surgery to reach the uterus. The process is long and is equivalent to a major surgery requiring rest for 24 to 48 hours. They have to come back to get removed stitches on the seventh or eighth day. They are paid only Rs 250 (Rs 600 for SC/BC or BPL women)
  • In men, no incision is required. The procedure is conducted in 10 minutes and does not require cutting open the abdomen. To encourage NSVs, men are paid Rs1,100

As compared to 188 women who went for the invasive procedure of sterilisation (tubectomy) at the recently concluded Sterilisation Fortnight in the district, merely 14 men opted for sterilisation. Even though sterilisation among men involve non-scalpel, non-invasive procedures conducted without any cut and also heavily incentivised by the state government, women continue to bear the burden of family planning measures amidst prevalent myths and stigma.

The Sterilisation Fortnight was held from November 21 to December 4 across camps at the district CHCs, PHCs and the Civil Hospital.

Experts said persistent ignorance among the populace regarding maternity to post partum care and treatments extends all the way to the sterilisation process.

Notably, the considerably lesser men turning up at sterilisation camps is in keeping with lack of awareness regarding sterilisation processes among men for decades.

From 2016 until March 2019, as many as 11,578 women opted for tubectomy in the district while in comparison, a mere 1,120 men opted for vasectomies.

In 2016-17, as many as 4,009 women underwent sterilisation surgery while only 316 men opted for the procedure. In 2017-18, 3,800 women underwent the procedure compared to only 318 men and in 2018-19 (until March), as many as 3,769 women opted for sterilisation while the number of men is only 486.

Dr Indu Bala, in charge, PPE (Post Partum) Unit, Jalandhar, said: “This is the one surgery in a woman’s lifetime which men can easily volunteer for, relieving women of at least one task in the plethora of surgical child bearing or family planning procedures they undergo throughout lives. But this burden too, they leave for women even though the NSV (Non Scalpel Vasectomy) is a much more simpler, scalpel free, low risk and quicker procedure for men. The figures during the sterilisation fortnight are reflective of myth mongering and prevalent patriarchy among the populace. Men are considered bread-winners and kings of the house while women just sit at home and do housework. Women will just lie around the house for days, while we have to work. This is the reigning thought. So they do not want to share this miniscule family planning responsibility either.”

She added, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, very few men turned up for the procedure. Since RTPCR tests are mandatory before the NSVs, men shy away from that too. We have been motivating men the best we can and even counselling men on the procedure, answering many questions they have. Yet it is difficult to break age-old perceptions. Of those turning up, many are labourers or addicts coming in for money. Only a few educated are truly aware.”

Dr Gurmeet Kaur, gynaecologist, Civil Hospital, Jalandhar, said, “From highly prevalent anaemia among expectant mothers to only women volunteering for the tedious tubectomy procedures, these are mere reflections of societal mindset. There are myths like it will cause weakness or impotence among men. In many homes even women do not want to allow men the same.”

Civil Surgeon Dr Ranjit Gotra said, “We have been trying our level best to help dispel persisting myths but the response is dismal. Somehow the myth persists that sterlisation will compromise the potency of a man. In some households, women also side with men in this illogical belief. The affect is seen in such camps. Despite incentives, men shy away from the procedure.”

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