Despite being discouraged and warned that he will turn into a useless man, would not enjoy conjugal rights, and that his wife will look for other men, Alexis Niyoyita, 60 went on and had a vasectomy.
The tale of Niyoyita is a testimony of what men go through when they opt to carry out vasectomy, a family planning method for men where a minor surgery is done to block sperm permanently from reaching semen that is ejaculated from the penis. “Am as normal as I used to be, I enjoy my sexual life with my wife and nothing has changed, I ejaculate normally,” says Niyoyita with a smiling face.
Niyoyita who does odd jobs to put bread on the table for his family has four children. His first child is joining university this year while his last born is in upper primary. “Some people think that when they do vasectomy, they stop the semen and you cannot ejaculate or even erect, it is different,” he explained during a mobile family planning campaign in Gishali sector, Rwamagana district. He advised and urged fellow men to embrace birth control methods like vasectomy, adding that birth control methods should not be solely left to women.
Niyoyita’s testimony has encouraged more men to opt for vasectomy in Gishali sector. Silvere Niringiyimana 59, a father of four is one of them. “After listening to testimonies of men like Niyoyita and after a series of counselling by family planning providers, I decided to go for vasectomy, my wife has a pancreas disease, as a man I felt that the best way to support my wife, and not expose her to more risks with her current health situation was to start using family planning and vasectomy was the best option, says Niringiyimana.
The campaign in Gishali sector , is among several mobile family planning campaigns conducted by SFH across Rwanda aimed at bringing family planning services closer to the population especially in rural areas The campaigns encourage men’s participation. During the campaign in Gishali sector, 97 people received counselling on family planning and 67 people took on different family planning methods.
Lhin Pierre Rukundo Director of Health, Rwamagana district says that in the past two to three years when SFH Rwanda began to carry out mobile family planning campaigns in the district, the number of people going for birth control methods has moved up to 64 percent from below 40 percent.
“The uptake of birth control methods requires sensitisation and education, and this is what SFH Rwanda is doing, and as a district we cannot do it alone, we need partners like SFH Rwanda. He hailed SFH Rwanda for its role in increasing access to health services mainly in hard to reach areas in Rwamagana district where the SFH Rwanda is constructing 5 health posts in this year.
“This has been the best ever male engagement event we have ever organised in our Rwanda Social Marketing Program (RSMP) in the past seven years, the playground was full, we got a lot of engagement with people and others provided testimonies during the football match,” said Janet Opio, Chief of Party, SFH Rwanda. The mobile family planning campaigns are part of the Rwanda Social Marketing Program-RSMP a Cooperative Agreement funded by USAID Rwanda since 2012.
The goal of the program is to promote health through improved social and behaviour communication and social marketing of health products by increasing availability and access to socially marketed products and increasing health promotion interventions through audience focused Social and Behaviour Change Communication.