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Vasectomy? Not my dear husband, please

Health & Science

Kenya: Women are opposed to their spouses having vasectomies or using condoms as methods of family planning, a study by National Council for Population Development reveals.

The 2014 National Survey on Male Involvement in Family Planning established that the only two available family planning methods for men were not popular among their wives in most communities.

The survey also disclosed that some men found the permanence and irreversibility of vasectomy "unpleasant and intolerable" and equated it to castration. They claimed it would cause them not to "function well".

Most women also do not like their husbands to use condoms, which they associate with infidelity.


"As women, we will fight our husbands if they come home with condoms. When a woman finds condoms in her husband's pocket, she either throws them away or burns them," said a woman in Homa Bay, according to the report.

"Married men do not use condoms and those who do use them for promiscuity. Personally, there is no way I will tell my husband to use a condom with me," said a Nairobi woman.

Family size preference was also identified as a barrier to men's participation in family planning and reproductive health services. Some communities still believe having many children is a sign of wealth and financial security.

Some also felt family planning would result in further political marginalisation on account of numbers. They argued that family planning would continue to push down their already low populations and hurt their voting power.

Meanwhile, the conservatives challenged the moral validity of family planning. They alleged that it undermined a husband's "desires".

"FP (family planning) is not good. It is ungodly. We don't like FP because it is like we are being oppressed by that person with a big family," said some Maasai men.

"We hear FP brings about infertility and makes women barren, and it is also said to cause infections," said young men in Wajir County.


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