PopCom introduces no-scalpel vasectomy for men in uniform

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
PopCom introduces no-scalpel vasectomy for men in uniform
Photo shows Buenaventura Bongalbal, his wife Michelle and their children Jake and Rica Mae.

TABACO CITY  , Philippines  —    To increase male involvement in family planning, the Commission on Population (PopCom) will introduce no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) among men in uniform, particularly the police and military.

PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said they have been working with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to encourage police officers to undergo NSV.?

“The method that most women wanted is tubal ligation. But why should it always be women? What we wanted is for their partners to take an active role in family planning through vasectomy,” Perez said during the re-launch of the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP) here yesterday.?

PopCom will also partner with the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines to cover military men.

It is also targeting to include firemen, barangay councilmen and other groups in the program.

On March 8, PopCom and the Department of Health obtained the consent of President Duterte to intensify the NPPFP in the next four years.  ?The program aims to double the number of men and women who practice family planning from 6.5 million to 11.3 million in the next four years. 

One of the strategies is to increase male involvement in family planning through NSV, a procedure that is not invasive as only a small puncture is made on the scrotum to access and cut the vas deferens, which transports the sperm.

Traditional vasectomy requires the use of scalpel to make a cut in the scrotum.  

Perez said once they could convince policemen and soldiers to undergo NSV, it is likely that other men would follow.?“That will be the starting point. Eventually if this procedure becomes popular, other men will be coming in to volunteer. They will realize that vasectomy does not make them less of a man,” he added.?

Low uptake?

PopCom officer-in-charge Josephine Chua said that while the NSV procedure results in less bleeding and faster recovery than the traditional vasectomy method, the uptake remains low.?“Most men do not want to be vasectomized because of the machismo culture and misconceptions about the procedure. They usually leave family planning to their partners and this is the attitude that we want to change,” Chua said.?She said that contrary to the belief of most men, vasectomy does not affect sexual urge and orgasm.

Instead, vasectomy can make intimacy more comfortable because the stress or fear of pregnancy is removed. 

Low turnout?

Proof of this is the low turnout of “acceptors” of free NSV procedures provided by PopCom and the city government of Tabaco on March 19 and 20 at the Ziga Memorial District Hospital.?Only four men showed up to undergo NSV while 30 women turned PopCom up for the bilaterial tubal ligation.

There were other women who underwent subdermal implant, a procedure that prevents pregnancy for three years. This is part of PopCom’s Family Caravan Program for the launch of the NPPFP.

Other activities involve education and information campaign about responsible parenthood and reproductive health.?One of the volunteers is pedicab driver Buenaventura Bongalbal, 45, of Barangay San Roque. 

He and his wife Michelle, 21, have two children – Jake, 3, and Rica Mae, 6 months.?Buenaventura told The STAR they want to limit the number their children as “life is hard.”?“We already have a boy and girl. We think having two children is enough because life is hard and it is not easy to raise kids,” Buenaventura said.?He said they are dreaming of a better future for their children and they know they will not be able to do this if they have a big family.

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