Although women in Bangladesh have long been using birth control, men have been lagging behind. In many cases, men try and avoid it and urge women to use contraceptives. Most men want to pass the responsibility on to women fearing a loss of their sex drive.
There are quite a few forms of birth control. Women can use intrauterine devices (IUD), tubectomy, injections, birth control pills and implants for birth control, while men can go for no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) and condoms.
According to data from Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP), around 20,208 women used IUD, 21,217 used implants, 101,099 took injection, 271,529 took birth control pills and 5,230 used tubectomy, from July 2016 to June this year. On the other hand, 81,696 men used condoms while 11,651 did vasectomy during the same period.
Mirza Kamrun Nahar, deputy director of family planning in Dhaka, said that women also do not want men taking birth control, fearing loss of their sex drive.
She said birth control pills and condoms are most popular while injections are taken every three months, along with implants every three to five years. She also suggested NSV is the fastest procedure for men.
“IUD is the best choice for women but due to lack of publicity, it is not very popular, except among educated women. Hormones are not affected by the operation. Tubectomy requires women to take rest after the operation,” She said.
She continued: “It is better to use birth control pills or injections as contraceptives and encourage pregnant women to go to the nearest healthcare centre for childbirth. After that, we encourage women to conceive after two years. In one study, 99 out of 100 mothers were interested in pregnancy after two years considering the health and well-being of both their children and themselves. But in reality, 30 out of 100 conceive for the second time within three months of childbirth. To have another child after two years, a mother must take the procedure within one and a half months of giving birth. This way, there is a gap of five to eight years between births of two children. It is good for both the mother and her babies.”
Dr Afroza Khanam Rumu, an expert in women and maternal diseases said: “Due to the patriarchal mentality of men, they do not want go for contraceptives. Some men have five children, even after which they are not interested in birth control. It is often difficult for women who have given birth by caesarean section to undergo such procedures. There is also lack of knowledge about birth control-related issues and social barriers play a key role.”
She also suggested men use condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancies or to get a vasectomy as a permanent solution.
This article was first published in Bangla Tribune