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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

No-scalpel vasectomy finds fewer takers in Mumbai: RTI reply

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2019 00:16 IST
Rupsa Chakraborty
Rupsa Chakraborty

With fewer takers for the no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV), the health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) has seen an 85% dip compared to last year in the money awarded to men who opt for the procedure, revealed data obtained by HT under a right to information (RTI) query.

The department pays ₹1,451 to each volunteer and ₹200 to those who encourage other men to undergo for the operation. In 2015-16, the BMC paid ₹2,46,670 to volunteers and promotors of NSV and ₹4,19,339 in 2016-17. The amount rose to ₹8,76,404 in 2017-18 but declined to ₹1,16,080 in 2018-19 — the lowest in five years.

In the past five years, the corporation has provided incentives worth ₹16,68,650 to beneficiaries and ₹2,30,000 to promoters for encouraging NSV.

The BMC has blamed the decline in the number of procedures under the NSV to it being a permanent method of male sterilisation. In NSV, doctors first numb the scrotum with a local anaesthesia and then perforate a small hole in the skin of the scrotum to reach the tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles, called the vas deferens. The tubes are then either tied or sealed.

Municipal health officials said that they have a budget for the programme, but there are not many men volunteering for the procedure. “We provide the incentives to all the beneficiaries and promoters of NSV operations under the scheme of our family plans. But if people don’t opt for it, we can’t do anything about it,” said a senior health officer from BMC’s health department.

Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, BMC, said that owing to wrong perceptions about vasectomy, men often opt out of it. “People from poor economic background think vasectomy would affect their health, muscularity or reproductive system. However, this is completely wrong. We specifically started using NSV as this advanced procedure involves minimum bleeding and stitching. Also, people living in the slums often think that women should undergo sterilisation, not men,” added Keskar.

However, activists and experts blamed the BMC’s family welfare department for failing to raise awareness. “The promotional activity of the family welfare department has been stalled. Earlier, they would paste pamphlets or hang boards about the need for sterilisation and family planning. But now, the awareness programs have been stopped. How will people get to know about them,” asked L Ward corporator Dr Saeeda Khan, a member of the health committee.

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 00:16 IST

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