Gone are the days when men thought they had no role to play when it came to things like family planning. The time when every negative out come in the family was accorded to women.
Men, today, are up to their feet to see to it that they do whatever it takes to get a small family that they can provide for. This has, therefore, driven them into family planning programmes such as child spacing and the use of contraceptives among many others.
Men and their wives should jointly decide on what contraceptives they want to use. It should not be left to the woman alone because the consequences affect both partners.
Andre Gitembagara, Chairperson of Nurses and Midwives Association, Rwanda says; “Men should be even more responsible when it comes to family planning because they have ownership of the family. They are the planners of the family and, therefore, should encourage and support their wives when it comes to family planning.”
Gitembagara explains; “Contrary to popular belief, family planning does not only benefit a woman.”
He says it actually helps partners to have good and healthy families which they deserve.
“When couples have a plan of what kind of family they wish to have and, work towards achieving it, family planning is the way to go,” emphasizes Gitembagara.
According to Dr. Thomas Nsengiyumva, an expert in Family Planning at the Ministry of Health, men should actively participate in family planning. He says they can do this by discussing with their wives about the family planning methods they prefer.
“Men are expected to employ some family planning methods such as vasectomy—when they have enough children—or use condoms to control the number of children. This allows them to provide basic life needs such as food, clothing, shelter and education without so much struggle,” he says.
Dr. Nsengiyumva encouraged men to accompany their wives to health centers to get contraceptives and also understand their use.
“Partners need to support each other since family planning not only benefits the parents but the dependants as well,” explains Dr. Nsengiyumva.
Damascene Mugabo, a salesman in Kigali, says he is afraid of having a large family.
“I am scared of having a large family that I cannot look after because of the little income that I earn at my small charcoal store. This is why my wife and I decided, that she uses the injection as a way to prevent unwanted pregnancies,” says Mugabo.
“After every three months she goes for an injection. We have one child so far and hope for another after two years. She got the injection in October and has no regrets so far.
“At first, we were worried because our friends told us that contraceptives have side effects like giving birth to premature babies or babies with health disabilities. My advice to fellow men is that they should join hands with their wives for their family’s well-being,” Mugabo narrates.
No one wants to be a victim of poor family planning; everyone wants to get the best they can in life. However, without using some of these birth control methods, parents fail to control the size of their families. Therefore, it is necessary that men embrace family planning in support of their wives for stronger and better families.