National think tank meetings on vasectomy access and uptake in South Africa
Vasectomy is widely accepted as a safe and effective method of birth control, with an estimated 31 million couples worldwide currently relying on vasectomy for contraception. Uptake in sub-Saharan Africa is less than 0.1%, whereas other parts of the world have rates as high as 20%. Government and civil society should be doing more to increase awareness and access to the procedure, whilst also ensuring that quality informed consent and quality services are not adversely affected. Yet a myriad of issues surround vasectomies, not least of which is that low access rates result in the bulk of the contraceptive burden being placed on women. Also of interest is access for women, adolescents, and people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in the broader context of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Recent government and civil society vasectomy campaigns in Rwanda and Kenya provide case study examples of the potential for vasectomy to be part of the selection of choices offered to men, women and couples as part of their sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa.
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