December 3, 2020

Male Sterilization, Female Condoms are Least Used Methods of Family Planning in Rwanda – Study

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Mothers wait outside an immunization center in northern Rwanda. The latest survey findings show the men are leaving the women to deal with family using things like pills which they have to swallow

Very few Rwandan men are willing to accept to be sterilized as a form of family planning, the Demographic and Health Survey released Thursday shows.

The survey is published every five years, and the latest was released in Kigali at a major function preside over by Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente.

The survey covered many aspects of the country’s health and demographics.

For family planning, a key issue in Rwanda due to the country’s dense population and high birth rate, the survey identified many different methods being used.

Those categorized as ‘modern methods’ include female sterilization, male sterilization, the pill, the intrauterine device (IUD), injectables, implants, male condoms, female condoms, lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), and standard days method (SDM).

Methods such as rhythm and withdrawal are defined as traditional. The rhythm method, also called the calendar method or the calendar rhythm method, is a form of natural family planning. To use the rhythm method, women track their menstrual history to predict when they will ovulate.

As for the withdrawal method, also called “pulling out”, is the practice of withdrawing the penis from the vagina and away from a woman’s external genitals before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy.

While most of the available methods are widely used, the survey found that the use of male sterilization and female condoms is extremely rare.

Actually, the survey identified only 11 cases of male sterilization and 2 cases of female condom use.

Male sterilization, also known as a vasectomy, is a permanent surgical contraceptive method. It involves cutting the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the penis during ejaculation in a procedure that is done under local anesthetic.

Since it is permanent and highly effective, it is an option for those who never want to have children, or who don’t wish to have any more.

After the procedure, the man can still ejaculate, but the seminal fluid will not contain any sperm.

Overall, 64% of currently married women use a method of family planning, with 58% using a modern method and 6% using a traditional method. Among currently married women, the most popular methods are implants (27%), injectable (15%) and pill (7%).

The contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) among married women varies with age, rising from 53% among women age 15-19 to a peak of 70% among women age 30-34 before declining to 46% among women age 45-49.

By the look of things, it seems men are adamant to put themselves up for sterilization and are instead leaving the women to do most of the family planning.

The other unusual element uncovered by the survey is that very few educated and rich Rwandan women are going for family planning.

Survey analysis reads: “Use of contraception does not have a linear association with educational attainment and is highest among those with a primary education (67%). Women in the highest wealth quintile are less likely to use a method of contraception than those in the lowest-fourth quintiles (59% versus 64%-67%).”

The other development that will leave development planners worried is that the survey found sexually active women and men are less likely to use contraceptives. In other words, a lot of people are having unprotected sex, yet not taking contraceptives.

Sexually active unmarried women told the researchers that they are less likely to use a method of contraception as than currently married women.

Only one in two sexually active unmarried women use a method of contraception, with 48% using a modern method. The most popular method among these women is also the implant (22%) and injectable (15%). Six percent of sexually active unmarried women use male condoms, while 4% use pills.

The very low uptake for male sterilization in the past 5 years is a big contrast to the previous survey.

In 2016, data at the time showed that up to 4,000 men had gone for sterilization during the five year before, in effort to control their family’s growth.

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