Kenya: Vasectomy? Not Me, Men in Kuresoi Say of the Rare Procedure

Nakuru — Most men and women in Kuresoi and Baringo are opposed to male contraception methods, like Vasectomy that remains a taboo in the country, with many saying it may have side effects.

Majority of the men in this region fear it would affect their marriages, while others said it is against their traditions, a sharp contrast from the capital Nairobi, where at least 100 men, some as young as 25, turned up for the procedure in November during the World Vasectomy Day.

Experts say the procedure, ignorantly equated by some to castration, does not have any known serious side effects.

The views of the men in Kuresoi came out during Dialogue Days organised by United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Afya Uzazi Program in the two regions to celebrate the World Population Day.

"Let women use the available ways of family planning and men will support them," said Philemon Mutai, a resident of Kuresoi South, who spoke at a forum held in Seguton region.

"Family planning should be left to women not men," he stressed, of the rare procedure rarely practiced in this part of the continent.

Mutai was particularly against vasectomy saying a man's reproduction system should be left intact just in case the family loses all the children.

The exercise is said to cost up to cost about $490 in the United States with the reverse exercise estimated to cost about $5,000.

Tube ligation is however said to be up to five times more expensive compared to vasectomy, according to medics who have carried out the surgery.

Surprisingly, even women were opposed to their men undergoing vasectomy, with many ignorantly equating it to Castration.

"Why can't they just use a condom," Milka Yegon said, opposing the idea of men having to undergo the rare procedure.

Latest statistics show that the uptake of contraceptives among women in the two communities and men involvement has increased since September last year.

Afya Uzazi's Deputy Chief of Party, Marsden Solomon said the uptake has increased by more than 100 per cent.

"In September last year, the uptake was at 80 in Kuresoi, 800 in the last quarter and 1050 the quarter ending June," he said.

He noted that the communities had also embraced long acting and reversible and permanent family planning methods such as bilateral tubal ligation, implants and Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device.

"We have only one case of vasectomy in Baringo but the uptake among women is better," he said.

Solomon attributed the improvement on training among health workers, outreach programs and mobilisation of the residents.

He was optimistic that the statistics would grow since there was increased engagements with men.

Here are select testimonies from some of the men who have embraced the procedure.

"This idea people are saying that the procedure is equal to castration is untrue and baseless," James Maina, 62, from Kayole estate, "I am telling men wherever they are that this is the best gift you can give to your wife and your family."

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