Increasing Male Participation in Family Planning (Important) (Download PDF)

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Female sterilization continues to be the most popular method of contraception in India, accounting for over 75 % of the modern family planning methods used, according to National Health Family Survey 2015 - 16 (NFHS-4). Male sterilization’s share in family planning methods was 0.62 % despite being safer, quicker, and easier. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare one-day national workshop promoted male participation in family planning with following objectives:

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  • Highlighted concrete strategies to understand and incorporate male needs in the same way as attention is given to women’s perspectives and needs.

  • Increase male participation in family planning, with continued emphasis on delivering assured services, generating demand, and bridging supply gaps.

Need for Involving Men in Family Planning!

  • Family planning is not just a women’s issue however, in many parts of South Asia, patriarchal conditioning over generations has convinced men that onus of family planning is on women

  • While NFHS-3 data revealed that 22 % men felt contraception is women’s business, contraception decision-making is controlled by men.

  • Lower family size and desired fertility are observed among women with higher levels of autonomy.

  • NFHS 3 data showed that institutional delivery is likely with high level of women’s autonomy and high level of male involvement in antenatal care.

  • Male involvement improves overall utilization of reproductive and child health (RCH) programme and Integrated Child Development Services.

State of Male Participation in Indian Family Planning

  • Permanent methods of contraception are more acceptance in India, the maximum number of acceptors are women.

  • Male participation in family planning is a challenge to be overcome, particularly in terms of raising public awareness around promoting and male engagement in family planning services.

  • In 2005 - 06, 78 % of Indian men acknowledged that women alone do not bear the responsibility of family planning; yet, male sterilization has fallen from 1 % to 0.3 % in the last ten years.

  • NFHS-4 (2015 - 16) data on contraceptive use shows the prevalence of female sterilization at 36 % among modern contraceptives used while the total usage of any modern contraceptive was 47.8%.

  • Reliance on female sterilization at all ages was observed in almost all states with most women undergoing sterilization as the first and the only method of contraception. According to NFHS-3 (2005 - 06), for the country as a whole, 77 % women had not used any other method of contraception before accepting sterilization.

Reasons for Less Male Involvement

  • Though vasectomy is a safer, quicker, and easier option, Indian men do not undergo the procedure, as they are worried about losing their virility.

  • Lack of awareness of sexual and reproductive matters

  • Lack of knowledge about appropriate contraceptive methods

  • Myths and misconceptions

  • Lack of access to services, information, and counselling on available methods of contraception, their benefits and side effects and management.

  • Gender inequality and lack of male involvement

  • Gender stereotypes

Safety and Health Concerns Devika Biswas Case- Cessation of Sterilization Camps as a Method of Population Control

  • Three clear directives came from the Supreme Court in this a landmark judgment:

  • The September 2016 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Devika Biswas case underlines the need for doing away with the camp approach and provide fixed-day services at public-health facilities.

  • Stop the practice of holding sterilization camps within three years.

  • State governments and union territories must ensure that family planning targets do not force health workers to indulge in forced or non-consensual sterilization.

  • Provides concrete recommendations to the union and state governments to improve the implementation of family planning programmes- ensuring easy access to empaneled doctors, making appropriate information available in the local language, and ensuring proper informed consent of the prospective patient.

State of Contraception Methods in the World

  • Vasectomy is not a popular method worldwide–only 2.4 % couples choose male sterilization worldwide.

  • In USA and Canada, male sterilization is popular among only 10.8 % and 21.7%, respectively, of the population.

  • After Canada, only Britain (21%) and South Korea (16.5%) fare well in male-vasectomy acceptance.

  • 12.8 % of the population in Bhutan and 4.8 % in Nepal prefer male sterilisation.

How to Engage Men?

  • The public health system, family planning programmes, and communication strategies should encourage male engagement.

  • Remove stereotypes so that women making decisions are not viewed as an aberration

  • Individual or a couples’ counselling session promote short-term behavioural change when in family planning practices.

  • Physical space of the healthcare centre should be made more conducive to male clients- making literature on men’s needs available, seeing male clients at different hours of the day, and training staff to be more welcoming to men.

  • Reach out to husbands and fathers with behaviour change communication efforts, encouraging involvement in spouses’ and children’s health care.

  • Encourage joint decision-making between spouses on healthcare issues.

  • Encourage male involvement through joint decision-making; encourage men to be present during visits to health facilities and target men for information on maternal and child health.

  • Involve male health workers in the programme where family planning counselling is largely done by female workers like Accredited Social Health Activists and Auxiliary Nurse Midwifes.

How is Government Engaging Men in Family Planning?

  • Government has revamped campaign on contraceptives being promoted on all forms of media.

  • Male vasectomy is being promoted

  • Government is revamping the training for no-scalpel vasectomy.

What is FP-LMIS?

  • The FP-LMIS software will facilitate the management and distribution of contraceptives

  • Serves as a decision-making tool for policy makers, program managers, and logistics personnel to monitor and manage the flow of contraceptive supplies, in order to reduce stockouts and overstocks, and improve the program’s effectiveness and contraceptive security.

- Published/Last Modified on: November 23, 2017

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