For many years, Thomas Nzamuye has been the victim of ignorance and little could he understand his role in birth control as a man.
As a result, his family has extended and currently he has eight children making an entire family of ten members. In fact, this is not a particular thing for Nzamuye.
Giving birth to many children has been a routine in various parts of Burera District .
This is partly attributed to the fact that the district borders the Republic of Uganda where there is the culture to produce many children.
However, until recently Nzamuye and some men opted vasectomy after the campaign by health officials that this can bring about positive impacts in the development of their respective families as well as developing the country as a whole.
Nzamuye, 47, father to 8 children and a resident of Gahunga Sector, Burera district says he decided to use birth control methods after realizing that he was failing to provide with his children basic necessities that a parent should provide.
“It is a very hard decision in life that I took together with my lovely wife after realizing that we were giving birth to lot of children whom we should not manage to raise appropriately, ” he says
And, as it was a hard decision, he says it was necessary to first agree on the method with his wife. So agreement was signed.
“Together with my wife, we signed a contract before a nurse before I opted for a vasectomy as an alternative to help us stop producing kids we couldn’t take care of ” He adds with a smiling face
For many Rwandans, birth control is largely done by mothers and various methods such as injections, use of pills are used as artificial ways while natural methods are also adopted.
However, it is not common for many to play a role in birth control as they have one way which is vasectomy. This is a permanent way of birth control and very few men adopt it.
For some Burera men, this is no longer a barrier.
Joseph Sibomana, 45, the father of 4 from Rusenyi cell, Gahunga Sector says “My wife had chosen short-term contraception injections and after two years things changed abruptly as her weights reduced from 70kg to Kg30. since then I started thinking about vasectomy as I had heard it before from our community health counselors,”
His wife, Adele Mukankomeje, is happy with their decision, noting that “Fears of unplanned pregnancies are no more, we can now sufficiently provide for our four children whatever they need as well as guaranteeing for them a better future, ” she says thanking her husband.
The method is ‘consequence free’
Men from various parts of Burera District who opted vasectomy affirm that so far they have not faced any problem as a result of the method as it happens sometimes to wives who practice different contraceptive methods.
“I have not met anybody disturbance since I went for the vasectomy; my weight remained stable as it neither went up nor down. I always do my job as before” says Nzamuye adding that it’s been six years since he opted for vasectomy.
The testimony shared by Burera men who joined vasectomy drive authenticity that the method fast tracked their families’ development thanks to the fact that they gave birth to children whom they are able to raise.
“Whenever I am in a bed with my wife I feel safe, I don’t think like I am going to impregnate her, consequently I am busy taking care of my four children I had before deciding on vasectomy,” Says Nocodeme Sebunyenyeri from Cyanika Sector.
“I can now afford community health based insurance(Mituelle de Santé) to my children, I can feed them as well as paying their school fees without any problem.” He adds.
Antony Matabaro, 68, from Kinoni Sector says he decided on vasectomy in 1993 and he firmly managed to give all his 5 children a heritage, “What I am proud of is that I securely managed to help my children getting their own pieces of land to live on and I am happy that I remained with a land on which I daily cultivate on so as to survive with my wife.”
“If I had given birth to a lot of children I wouldn’t have gained a piece of land to cultivate on, I should have remained with nothing. People in this world are hugely increasing day to day, but soil to cultivate remains the same, so people should decide accordingly and join vasectomy drive for the better of their families’ future.”
The men who joined the vasectomy drive in different parts of Burera District say that they often get discriminated in the public by people who still don’t have information about this family planning method.
“Sometimes when we are in the public places like in the pub, some people laugh at us saying that we are longer the real men; they often say that our scrotums have been cut (…) so, it discourages our fellow men who may need to opt for vasectomy process,” Says Abel Ntakaziraho from Gahunga Sector.
However, Clement Uwiragiye, the director of health in Burera District says campaigns aim at changing the mindset of people who keep neglecting the vasectomy are underway all along in the district, “We make sure we reach out to the people where we take them trough vasectomy use, its importance and more important why they should decide on it.” He says.
Burera District counts only 0.13% of men who opted the vasectomy; the percentage is equivalent to 40 out of 30,000 who are supposed to control births as substantiated by the section of health in the district.
Figures from the fifth Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (2014-15 RDHS) show that the total demand for family planning in Burera District is at 72% among women.
By Mike Urinzwenimana
The Express News