GUWAHATI, Nov 13 � With the latest Chhattisgarh �sterilization tragedy� casting serious aspersions on the quality of birth control programme in India, Assam Government has decided to push more for male sterilization (no scalpel vasectomy), which is believed to be a much safer option for family planning.
Government may provide incentives to males opting for sterilization instead of his better half .
Significantly, male sterilization in Assam has come down drastically in the last few years.
In 2009-10, while 14,072 male sterilization surgeries were performed, the figure last year (2013-14) came down to 4,277 surgeries only.
So far, in this year till September (2014-15), Health department has failed to touch even the 1,000 mark evidencing poor acceptance level among men for sterilisation, statistics available with the National Health Mission stated.
Assam since 2009-10 has conducted nearly 42,000 male sterilization surgeries compared to nearly 3 lakh female sterilization surgeries during the same period.
Sources, meanwhile, stated that a 14-member team of Union Government has left for New Delhi today after assessing the existing infrastructure and family planning methods adopted in the State.
Although sources refused to link the visit with the Chhattisgarh incident, the visit has certainly assumed importance in the wake of the tragedy.
�There continues to be some sort of stigma attached when it comes to male sterilization, which is several times safer," said Dr Illias Ali, Senior Consultant, Family Planning , National Health Mission, while talking to The Assam Tribune on the issue.
Not just that, apart from male sterilization, females should be encouraged to adopt other �risk-free� procedures like postpartum sterilization (PPS) and use of the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), Dr Ali said.
With Assam planning to engage nearly 14 lakh females in family planning procedures in the next six years (by 2020), it would be a challenge to see as to how many of them opt for other safer methods of family planning.
This is in addition to the 20 lakh females who had already opted for various intervention of family planning.
Another senior doctor working on family planning issues for the last many years, especially in Char areas on the ground of anonymity said, �Men still feel that they would lose their sexual vigour after opting for sterilization. There are several other stigmas attached to it, which we need to do away with.�
�It is a general tendency to put the women forward in spite of the greater risk involved compared to men,� he said.
This financial year (2014-15) till September, 15,620 females have undergone sterilization surgeries in Assam. The figure last year was 50,065.
Experts working in field believe that with the State facing acute shortage of doctors including gynaecologists and surgeons (they perform sterilization surgeries), it is ideal to opt for safer options.