Vasectomy: a Bangladeshi success story

Bangladeshi men
04 Sep 2012 | Family planning
Vasectomy is an increasingly popular choice of contraception in Bangladesh. Between 1996 and 2011 the number of men choosing the procedure rose from just under 8,000 to over 150,000 per year. And it’s a service which Marie Stopes Bangladesh (MS Bangladesh) is seeing growing demand for: nearly 110,000 men had a vasectomy with MS Bangladesh last year.

Dr Golam Rasul from MS Bangladesh explains,

Although vasectomies have been provided in Bangladesh since independence (in 1971), it’s only in the last 10 years that vasectomy has been a serious contributor to the national mix of family planning options.

Working in partnership with The Government of Bangladesh, MS Bangladesh have used a number of tools and approaches to raise awareness about vasectomy as a family planning choice.

These include mobilising government family planning field workers, forming satisfied client groups, and sensitizing formal and informal leaders at a local level. Word of mouth has played an important role too.

Kaji’s story

Kaji was the first man in his community to have a vasectomy. Since then he’s successfully referred 70 other men in his community for the service.

When my wife fell pregnant with our fourth child two years ago we decided that we’d had enough children.

We always wanted a girl and after three sons we finally had our daughter.

Kaji and his wife discussed their options. The pill and condoms were all that was available locally, and Kaji’s wife experienced headaches from the pill.

They decided Kaji would have a vasectomy when the MS Bangladesh Roving Team visited their local health centre.

I was the first man in my community to have a vasectomy. The other men fear vasectomy because they worry they’ll become weak and unproductive. They also fear losing their sexual appetite and the pain of the procedure.

Muslim teachings which say that Allah will ensure a child is provided for - whether it is intended or not - can also play a negative role on demand for family planning among men.

And Kazi believes that popular myths in his community can do too. “Wives often reinforce the fear of side effects. They fear the loss of productivity and sexual appetite from vasectomy just as much as men do.”

With the cultural barriers and misinformation about family planning methods like vascectomy, it raises the question: how has Kazi been so successful at telling others about the service?

Kazi explains:

Firstly, I am proof that vasectomy doesn’t hurt and doesn’t make you weak.

Kazi uses his own satisfaction with his vasectomy to demonstrate the safety and effects of the procedure.

My religion says do it yourself first then advise others. Then, I reference the sections of the Qu’uran and Hadiz that I interpret to support family planning. Try to understand their beliefs and their problems with vasectomy. Make them feel reassured about family planning. It just takes a few people to change their mind.

Learn more about our work in Bangladesh

Download our report on Marie Stopes Vascectomy in Bangladesh

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