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[afro-nets] New Hopkins Report: Vasectomy Reaching Out to New Users

  • From: "Seth Rosenblatt" <inform@jhuccp.org>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 10:27:55 -0400

Baltimore, MD- Vasectomy is simpler and more cost effective than female sterilization and offers men a way to share responsibility for family planning, according to the lastest issue of Population Reports, "Vasectomy: Reaching Out to New Users" from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Although vasectomy is highly effective, convenient, and poses little risk of medical complications, vasectomy use remains low throughout the developing world. According to the report, worldwide fewer than 3% of women ages 15 to 49 who are married or in union rely on a partner's vasectomy for contraception. Many men are not aware of vasectomy as a family planning option or fear that vasectomy will make them impotent.

"Once program managers understand the barriers to vasectomy they can develop solutions to the problem," according to co-authors Adrienne Kols and Robert Lande who prepared the report and its 8-page companion report "Vasectomy: Tools for Providers."

Effective promotion of vasectomy has two audiences - clients and providers. Mass media and interpersonal communication directed to clients can dispel myths and rumors, disseminate accurate information about the procedure, tell men where the method is offered, and prompt men to discuss vasectomy with family and friends. Satisfied vasectomy clients make especially convincing and influential promoters.

Vasectomy also needs to be promoted throughout the health system. All clinic staff should receive general training to help them better understand vasectomy and feel comfortable with male clients. This will encourage them to inform clients about vasectomy and offer accurate and balanced counseling. Hands-on clinical training can ensure that providers have good surgical skills and employ the safest and most effective techniques. Research has identified innovative techniques that can reduce complications and increase the effectiveness of vasectomy.

Because vasectomy requires little equipment or infrastructure, it can be performed in almost any health care setting. Program managers need to consider client volume, human resources, and available equipment when they decide where and how to offer vasectomy. Some successful programs refer vasectomy clients to hospitals for the procedure. Others offer vasectomy services at larger primary health facilities or send mobile teams to perform vasectomies at outreach sites.

Family planning program managers can use the 24-page report to:
* Address the barriers that discourage men from choosing vasectomy
* Compare and assess different approaches to offering vasectomy services
* Plan how to introduce and scale up safe and effective vasectomy services

Health care providers can use the companion issue of INFO Reports, "Vasectomy: Tools for Providers," to review important elements in providing good-quality services to vasectomy clients. The report also offers tools for counseling clients and helping them understand the vasectomy procedure.

For more information, contact
Seth Rosenblatt,