Few men come up for sterilisation programmes compared to women if state health department data of the last eight years is to be believed.
Experts The Telegraph spoke to blamed the male-dominated society, which encourages women to take every kind of pain, while men think they need not take any pressure.
Some experts said the poor participation of males in sterilisation programmes stems from the unfounded fear it would turn them impotent. Data available with The Telegraph says 1,61,193 women and 750 men turned up for sterilisation in 2006-2007. (See chart)
Subodh Jaiswal, deputy director (family planning), State Health Society, admitted the reason behind poor participation by men was their conservative nature. “We face problems convincing women to opt for sterilisation programmes, too, but frontline workers are still able to convince them while men, rural or urban, remain conservative.”
Dr Diwakar Tejaswi, a noted physician, said: “Men think there is no need for them to offer sacrifice, it is for women to do so. The mentality extends to family planning too. So it is usually women and not men who come for sterilisation. This apart, in Bihar men fear sterilisation would render them impotent and sexually inactive. There is a need to create awareness.”
Sociologist Hetukar Jha confirmed the fear. Shashi Sharma, head of political science department at Magadh Mahila College, said: “Elderly women, especially in rural areas, do not like the idea of men opting for sterilisation. My own grandmother was against men going for sterilisation. She tried to stop my grandfather and father but they opted for it. Even my uncles went.”
Dr. Abha Rani Sinha, a gynaecologist at Patna Medical College and Hospital, admitted very few men were turning up for the no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) procedure.
Save the children
Shakeel-ur-Rehman, the convener of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Bihar and secretary of NGO Centre for Health and Resource Management, blamed absent political will for infant deaths. At a programme to release NGO Save the Children’s report on “Ending Newborn Deaths: Ensuring Every Survives”, he said the government needs to take steps at the technical level to check newborn and mother deaths.