Makueni County is implementing a five-year strategy that aims at expanding access to modern family planning services.
The objective is to attain a modern contraceptive rate of 72 per cent by 2020. A key components of the Makueni County Family Planning Strategic Plan 2016–2020 is to seek ways of involving men in family planning, which has for long been viewed as a preserve of women.
“We have realised that involvement of men in family planningis key to the success of this plan,” said Dr Patrick Musyoki, the county’s chief officer in charge of health.
One of the ways men are being involved in family planning is by lobbying them to accompany their spouses to clinics.
Men are also being introduced to vasectomy, one of the permanent methods of family planning that has proven controversial among residents.
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The county government has already equipped 15 health centres with theatres and trained personnel across the county to offer vasectomy among other medical procedures.
To effectively involve men, the Department of Health has recruited male community health volunteers and vasectomy champions whose role is to gather and talk to fellow men on the need to be in the forefront in family planning. Julius Kilonzo, one such volunteer from Nzambani village in Kambu, says most men readily agree to family planning but not vasectomy.
“They have seen the importance of being involved in familyplanning but when we broach the vasectomy method, they brush it off; they equate it to castration.”
But Dr Musyoki is advising men that vasectomy is perfect and has no known side effects.
“Once a man swallows his ego, they can opt for vasectomy as a family planning tool. The couple however must be certain they do not want more children because it is a permanent method,” Dr Musyoki says.