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September 26, 2017

Myths scuttle efforts to have Kenyan men undergo vasectomy - expert

Family planning drug. /FILE
Family planning drug. /FILE

A reproductive health expert has sounded an alarm of the low number of men willing to take part in family planning and instead burdening their wives with the task.

Amref's Joachim Osur said Tuesday that the government has also failed by not providing sufficient family planning methods for men apart from the use of condoms and vasectomy.

He said a paltry 0.1% of men in the country participate in family planning, with a negligible number willing to take up vasectomy.

"Men who use condoms for family planning are at 10 per cent with most of them using it for HIV prevention which should not always be the case," Osur told the Star.

He said the myth that vasectomy reduces mens' sexual performance has frustrated efforts to have more men go for the reversible procedure which costs about Sh5,000.

"The situation is worse in rural areas where use of family planning methods has seen women beaten for suspicion of being unfaithful," Osur said.

Read: Vasectomy as an integral option for family planning in Kenya

He said cultural and religious perceptions have also affected the use of contraception in families - both based in urban and rural areas.

"We have families whereby despite their high education levels, they are still not practicing family planning because perhaps they are looking for a boy or girl child," he said.

Osur further pointed out that there is low information on family planning following the myths related to such measures of population control.

"Have you ever imagined how hard it is to buy a condom from a chemist because of stigma issues?...the first thing people think is that you are going to use it with another woman who is not your wife," the medic explained.

"Men have to participate In family planning by encouraging their wives to use the available methods .They can as well go for a vasectomy with an assurance that their sexual performance won’t be affected," he said.

"The procedure (vasectomy) takes less than one hour and one does not feel no pain even as the healing process takes place," Osur said.

Some of the myths related to the surgery include thinking that one won't be able to ejaculate and also that testosterone levels will decrease.

There is also a fallacy among many people that vasectomy causes prostate cancer and/or shuts down sperm production.

"There is also a thinking that it is easier for a woman to get her tubes tied yet it takes longer and has a higher serious complication rate," he said.

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