CHO urges Dabawenyos to avail of free no scalpel vasectomy

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Nov) – An official of the City Health Office (CHO) encouraged Dabawenyos to avail of the no scalpel vasectomy offered for free by the City Government as a form of “concretizing” the men’s responsibilities in their families.

Jeffrey Fuentes, chief of the CHO’s Population Division, told a press conference on Monday that only 558 men have so far availed of the free procedure since the City Government started offering it in 2008.

Fuentes said that the fear of losing one’s masculinity has remained to be the biggest factor why very few have opted to undergo the vasectomy.

Davao City is the only one in the country that offers no scalpel vasectomy for free, according to Fuentes.

He emphasized the need for the men to undergo the procedure to “unburden the women” who face the risk of death in giving birth.

“It’s the women who usually take the burden in family planning. For men, there are only two methods [for population control] – the use of condom and vasectomy – and the rest are for women” he said.

Fuentes added that the age of clients usually range from as young as 22 to 50.

He said that prior to the procedure, they subject the clients to counseling to educate them that the vasectomy a permanent method of population control to help them make an “informed choice” whether they want to pursue it or not.

Dr. Mike Ababon, vasectomist of CHO, said that the no scalpel vasectomy, which would require patients to rest for three days before going back to work, is even safer than ligation for women.

He said the City Government holds free no scalpel vasectomy every month that he said is open to all the city’s residents, non-residents, and even foreigners.

Fuentes said that the latest 2015 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the city has a population of 1.6 million and a growth rate of 1.9 percent annually.

He said that most of the growth came from internal immigration, explaining that a lot of people coming from different areas want to study and live in the city for the promising opportunities that it offers.

City Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte said that they are proposing a P74-million budget for next year’s health programs, more specifically on the Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN).

She said that her committee is still completing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the recently approved MNCHN ordinance that will focus on improving the conditions of the mothers and infants, more particularly those living in far-flung communities.

“When I presented the MNCHN back during my first term (as councilor) in 2014, we had 68 deaths at that time. Meron pang MDG (Millennium Development Goals) na ang target is below 15 but we went above. We have (a total of) 28 maternal deaths presently,” Villafuerte said.

She added they want to focus on Lumads who need more support in terms of medical care.

“We do not want to relax. We feel that the IP community still deliver children at home. We do not advice pregnant women to deliver their babies at home,” Villafuerte said, noting that many of the deaths come from the IP communities.

She advised mothers to complete the suggested four prenatal checkups. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)