After TCI-Supported WSO, Pakistan LHW Embraces Male Engagement and Counsels Couple about Vasectomy

Mar 26, 2024

Contributed by: Aiman Haroon and Aziza Burfat

After TCI-Supported WSO, Pakistan LHW Embraces Male Engagement and Counsels Couple about Vasectomy

Mar 26, 2024

Contributed by: Aiman Haroon and Aziza Burfat

Javed (center) talks to Dr. Pirzada about vasectomy as the LHW Naheed listens in.

It all started when The Challenge Initiative (TCI) began implementation in District Central in Karachi, Pakistan, under the leadership of the Department of Health and District Health Management Team. Dr. Uzair Pirzada is the Deputy District Health Officer and a family planning champion who is vocal about the need for informed choices and decisions for women in need of family planning. Dr. Pirzada is also a TCI master coach who actively conducts trainings and refreshers on TCI’s high-impact practices and other interventions.

One of those interventions was whole-site orientation (WSO), where everyone in a health facility gets oriented on family planning to reduce bias and create a more welcoming environment. During a WSO session on male engagement, Dr. Pirzada trained Naheed Bano, a Lady Health Worker (LHW) from District Central. She previously had received multiple trainings but during this session, Naheed learned the importance of engaging men in family planning discussions in a country where, generally, family planning is considered a topic for women only.

Naheed got the opportunity to put her new learning into practice with Safiya, a mother of four from her catchment area who had health issues, including hypertension. Javed is Safiya’s husband and a daily wage earner. After four children, Javed became concerned about Safiya’s health.

Naheed had counseled them over the years to use condoms, but then switched to three-month injectables. But after Safiya became hypertensive and anemic, Naheed discontinued injectables and recommended that the couple use condoms. But Safiya was afraid of getting pregnant again and asked the LHW to suggest another method. At this point, Naheed brought up vasectomy as an option.

She counseled Javed about vasectomy’s benefits and what he could expect during and after the procedure. Javed was initially reluctant but then she brought him to meet Dr. Pirzada, who convinced him to undergo the procedure. Dr. Pirzada addressed myths and misconceptions regarding vasectomy with documentation and research, putting Javed’s mind at ease. Javed happily agreed to get the procedure at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), saying:

 I went to the hospital to get my vasectomy thinking it would be harrowing; however, it only took 10 minutes and was painless. The doctor asked me to get up, and I was amazed that the procedure was complete in no time. Within one hour, I was back at work.”

He added:

 In this current inflation, living has become unaffordable. Family planning is the only way to manage the family size and plan one’s living. Now my wife is happy and at peace. She doesn’t have to take any pills or injections, which also makes me contented to see her getting back in shape and uplifting spirits. … It takes two to tango and one should never leave the other hanging in these important decisions. My wife and her health are my responsibility and utmost priority.”

Naheed also said that Javed boosted her morale by trusting her and going for the procedure. He is a family planning success story and an avid advocate for male engagement in family planning.

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