93% Women Go For Sterilisation Even When Vasectomy Is Easier & Reversibleby Opinion Express June 22, 2018 0 comments
The recent National Health Mission report states that men need to step up their game, women can’t carry all the burden.
It is quite disappointing that in spite India is setting motivating family planning targets every year, people decline to learn from their past failures. The 11th report of the National Health Mission released earlier this week has once again lamented the fact that the entire burden of family planning has been lobbed into the women’s court as men have yet again failed to stand up and be counted. Data revealed that in the period between 2017-18, out of a total of 14,73,418 sterilisation procedures conducted across the country, women accounted for 93 percent of them. That is a shocking statistic. Some will argue that this is a slight improvement from the situation earlier which was much starker — 98 per cent of the tubectomies were done on women — but that would be evading the central issue. It is this: Misogyny begins at home and is carried over to reproductive and family planning duties.
This skew in reproductive health/family planning decision-making ought to be a top national concern. And a debate on measures to reverse this trend is long overdue. The most obvious question that comes to mind is why do these shocking gaps exist between men and women undergoing procedures. Lack of awareness about sexual/reproductive health, long-standing unscientific beliefs regarding impact on sexual pleasure of any medical procedure, poor availability of healthcare facilities and lack of access to contraception are the obvious ones. But the primary reason is the sense of entitlement Indian males have internalised, allied to their lack of responsibility in planning a family. Myths and traditions which equate sterilisation with a loss of “masculinity” have to be challenged. There can be no justification for this false sense of ‘manliness’ as it is well-known that just as in the case of procedures for females meant to prevent unwanted pregnancies, male sterilisation is a simple surgical procedure. In fact, male sterilisation is a medically easier and safer procedure whether in terms of surgical risks or recovery time or the possibility of complications. Deaths too are rarer among males if there is a botched up procedure.
The only difference is that the burden to “take care of such issues” has always been on women, which has to change. We must accept that we are a country where female autonomy is restricted in almost every sphere of life and then work to change this situation. Governments can do their bit by ensuring proper healthcare infrastructure — incidents like the botched operations in Chhattisgarh where 13 women lost their lives besides leaving more than 60 impaired are unacceptable. But society too must step forward to become change agents. The United Nations has projected that India’s population is set to cross the 1.44 billion-mark by 2024. But that does not mean that we need to opt for a target-driven mindset that has utter disregard for female health given the state of medical infrastructure and regressive societal mindsets that exist in India.
Courtesy: The Pioneer