Few men take sterilisation; women 'act as told'

Few men take sterilisation; women 'act as told'

From progressive Tamil Nadu and Kerala to economically backward Bihar and West Bengal, Indian men don’t seem to prefer sterilisation surgeries, but they compel women to undergo such family planning surgeries, suggests India’s biggest health survey.

No males in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Andaman and Nicobar islands opted for vasectomy or male sterilisation for family planning, found the National Family Health Survey-4 that surveyed more than 32,000 households in these states. The NFHS-4 released data from 15 states and Union territories so far.

Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura are marginally better with 0.1 per cent of the male population — either in urban areas or rural hamlets — opting for sterilisation.

Those minuscule number of willing males are in urban areas in Karnataka, Bihar and Tripura whereas West Bengal is the only state where 0.1 per cent rural menfolk chosen sterilisation. The numbers are overwhelmingly tilted towards women.

The financial incentives provided by the government act as a coercion, particularly for women from poor economic background as women have little say in deciding on family and contraception, says a 2014 report prepared by the Population Foundation of India in the wake of tragic deaths of 16 women in sterilisation camps in Bilaspur district of Chhattishgarh. The ground situation changed little over the years. In Bihar, for instance, more than 50 per cent of women are illiterate.

Only 21 per cent women underwent sterilisation surgeries with almost no males doing it. Bihar has one of the highest fertility rates in India. In Tamil Nadu, women literacy rate is about 80 per cent. But sterilisation surgeries are only for females with barely any man going for vasectomy.

In Karnataka, female literacy is more than 70 per cent, but sterilisation is again overwhelmingly female.  Condoms are not preferred in most of the states except Uttarakhand and Haryana where more than 10 per cent of people surveyed preferred condoms as means of family planning.

Sikkim scores the best on male sterilisation with 3.4 per cent of male – rural, urban combined – going for the family planning surgery.

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