Let’s Both Plan

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Participants during Coffee Bar Tuesday. Photo: Peris Saleh

So many discussions have been held in regards to family planning but most of these conversations are usually centered on women whereby they are educated on the different types of family planning, how they work and the importance of having one but does this mean that men do not have a role to play in this matter?

During our coffee bar discussion, we tackled the matter of the role of men in family planning. There are different types of family planning which are available in health facilities. There are hormonal (implant, depo Provera, pills, hormonal IUD), non- hormonal (condoms, non- hormonal IUD), natural methods (safe days), herbal methods (herbal pill), operation procedures (vasectomy and tubal ligation). Majority of these are normally offered free of charge in public health facilities.

Although family planning is not mandatory, there are some benefits attached to it such as preventing unplanned pregnancies, choosing the number of children one desires and it also gives people a chance to space their children how they’d like to. There are however a number of challenges which have been tied to uptake of these methods, the most common ones being that they affect one’s ability to bear children in future, people questioning their efficacy as some women have gotten pregnant while on various methods hence leading to doubt.

“There have been reported cases of a number of women going to get the 3-month injection in local chemists and ended up being injected with water instead. There are also people who have been injected but later got pregnant after the injection.” Said one of the participants.

It is quite essential to get these at certified health facilities where they will conduct tests to know which method best suits you and also clearly explain any possible side effects and any warning signs that should be watched out for.

When it came to the issue of men taking up contraceptives, majority of the men were reluctant to take them up citing issues such as low sperm count and reduced sexual performance. Surprisingly, some of the women were also supporting the fact that contraceptives should only remain to be taken by women. Majority of the male participants stated that they are not even aware of any family planning method for men. Some believe that women should lead the conversation of family planning since it affects them directly.

“ I trust myself more that I will go for the contraceptives but for my partner I will not be at ease even if he tells me he has gotten the contraceptive, I will have some doubt about it and have fear of getting pregnant” confessed one of the female participants.

Study has shown that planning for a child will help you avoid the social, health and financial problems you face if an unplanned pregnancy happens. For a long time, men have always viewed family planning to be a ‘women’ issue but ever heard of the phrase “it takes two to tango” ? Well, in the case of family planning it is very crucial to let men in the conversation and allow them to play an active role when it comes to either supporting their partners to get various forms of family planning or themselves getting one. From this conversation, you can tell men distanced themselves from issue of family planning leaving it to women. See you on Tuesday!


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