Friday, October 18, 2013

Davao joins World Vasectomy Day

At this time when almost everything looks at age decisively, it is only in Vasectomy when age actually does not matter. But unfortunately, only less than one percent of Dabawenyos who use a contraceptive method prefer Non Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV).

“We are pushing for NSV because it is one of the most cost effective Reproductive Health Program available to the local government,” Assistant City Health Officer Dr. Samuel Cruz said Thursday during the iSpeak media forum.

He said age does not matter on vasectomy because what matters is the couple’s decision to plan their family. Thus, even and 18-year old guy can already get NSV if he and his wife thinks they have enough children already.
Cruz said NSV is one of the cheapest contraceptive available and yet only 15 local government units all over the country offer this to their constituents, with only two LGUs here accredited by a world vasectomy organization.

Only Davao and Cebu cities have been accredited by the to participate in the World Vasectomy Day on October 18 which targets at least 1000 vasectomies across 25 countries in 25 hours.

“Less than 15 LGUs have a vasectomy program for their constituents,” Cruz said. Among the accredited doctors in Davao are Doctors Samuel Cruz, Miguel Ababon, Titus Antonio, Laredo Rabang and Ashley Lopez.

Cruz said it is definitely not the cost that has kept the country’s various LGUs to implement a vasectomy program since it is very cheap at a cost of less than P100 per vasectomy. The only things needed, aside from a well-trained doctor, are bandaid, one amp anaesthesia and betadine.

Perception is an important part of a family planning program and most LGUs may not consider Vasectomy a priority compared to other methods like pills and Bilateral Tubal Ligation (BTL).

This is ironic, he said, considering that up to 60% of men in the United States who are at least 35 years old are vasectomized and they pay between P20,000 to P100,000 for the procedure. This is so cheap in the Philippines and yet not all LGUs are taking advantage of the program, he added.

Davao City has implemented the No Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV) Program since 2008. A total of 300 Dabawenyos have availed of the NSV since then but more are expected this year.  But even before its formal implementation, a group of doctors who went to Caraga in Davao Region to train on NSV had a hard time getting volunteers for the program.

“This needs behavioral change and acceptance; family planning is not solely for women but men should also participate and the best way is through NSV,” he said.

The city shoulders the P2,500 payment per person for the whole procedure and another P2,500 is provided to the volunteer to compensate for the loss of income during the vasectomy day. “But this is not the main selling point of our Program,” Mr. Cruz said.

Moises F. Villacorta, Information Officer of the Commission on Population (PopCom) XI said Dava0 had a 50% rating in the latest 2008 National Demographic Health Survey and the highest method used at 60% contraceptive prevalence rate was oral contraceptives. He said NSV got a prevalence rate of less than 10%.

Among the reasons cited by Mr. Villacorta for the 22% increase in unmet Family Planning needs in the city are misinformation, lack of information, culture, preference for a big family among Filipinos and the macho culture.

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