INDORE: Amid controversy over a circular, since scrapped, in Madhya Pradesh that set sterilisation targets for male multi-purpose health workers, government data showed participation of men in family planning initiatives was steadily decreasing.
It showed that vasectomy numbers had gone down from 9,957 in 2015-16 to 7,270 in FY 2016-17, 3,719 in 2017-18 and 2,925 in 2018-19 in the state.
In the current fiscal, as on January 30 this year, the number of vasectomies performed in MP stood at 2,514, the data revealed.
Experts said the fall was due to lack of awareness coupled with a male-dominated mindset, leading to a serious gender gap in the context of family planning operations in MP.
Renowned sterilisation specialist Dr Lalitmohan Pant, who claims to have carried out the highest number of family planning operations worldwide, told PTI on Sunday, "In last 38 years, I have performed 3.85 lakh sterilisation operations, of which only 13,600 (3-4 per cent) were vasectomy operations."
"Most men still feel their physical strength and manhood will be reduced if they undergo sterilisation. In reality nothing of this sort happens. I myself underwent a sterilisation operation about 25 years back and I work for about 12 hours a day today," said the 64-year-old surgeon, who is with MP's health department.
He said most women had to undergo sterilisation operations because their husbands were unwilling to get vasectomized.
As per the 2011 Census, there were 3.76 crore men and 3.50 crore women in MP.
On February 11, the MP unit of the National Health Mission (NHM) had directed each male MPHW to get at least one man sterilised by March 31 this year, failing which their salaries would be withheld and they would be given compulsory retirement.
It had created a stir and had to be withdrawn by the Congress-led Kamal Nath government.