The Tupange Project, in collaboration with No-Scalpel Vasectomy International, Inc. (NSVI), hosted a groundbreaking vasectomy camp in Kisumu in late 2012 to give Kenyan couples yet another way to plan their families.
A team of vasectomy experts from NSVI—Doctors Ramon Suarez, Charles Ochieng, Doug Stein and Charles Monteith—conducted the camp at the Marie Stopes Nursing Home in Kisumu. A total of 35 men from Kisumu, Busia and Nairobi received free vasectomy services during the three-day event that ended on December 2.
No-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) is an innovative technique in which the vasectomy is performed without needles, scalpels and stitches. The 15-minute procedure is performed by a doctor in a clinic. The aim of the NSV is “to prevent the sperm from entering the semen, 95% of which is support fluid made by glands called the prostrate and seminal vesicle, located in the pelvic behind and beneath the bladder,” explained Dr. Ochieng, who underwent the vasectomy procedure in 2006.
Tupange is an ambitious urban reproductive health project undertaken by the Government of Kenya to increase access to and use of family planning services among women and families throughout the country. The project, which began in 2011, is led by Jhpiego in partnership with local nongovernmental organizations, and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Tupange Project coordinators decided to host the vasectomy camp to give Kenyan clients access to a permanent family planning method. Public interest in the camp was generated through roadside billboards, public address announcements and door-to-door mobilization by community health workers and youth group members, as well as discussions between the vasectomy experts and men gathered at socializing spots in the Manyatta slums in Kisumu.
Fredrick Onyango, 41, was motivated to attend the vasectomy camp after a candid discussion with his wife. Onyango wanted to play a dominant role in planning his family without relying on condoms that had failed in the past. Additionally, he thought the counseling provided by the vasectomy experts was professionally done and explained alternative family planning options. He decided that vasectomy would be the best method for him. “I would advocate for more men to explore vasectomy as a family planning method. The procedure is less painful, doesn’t take time, and no needles or scalpels are used by the doctors while conducting vasectomy,” he said.
Dr. Ochieng explained the procedure: “At the start, a doctor superficially delivers local anesthetic into the area using a puff of air from a special device called a MadaJet, and then makes a micro-incision, just big enough to reveal the tiny vas deferens. During the procedure, only the tubes that carry the sperm from the testes are disconnected so that sperm can no longer pass. There is also no danger of accumulation of sperm in the body as the body adjusts itself; white blood cells ingest and digest the retained sperm, recycling the protein back into the system for use in other body functions.”
After the vas deferens tubes are cut, the doctor seals one end with a titanium-made hemaclip. The micro-incision is then sealed using antiseptic spray and protected with a small plaster bandage. The patient can remove the plaster after 48 hours and can resume normal sexual activity within two to three days.
From his experience conducting vasectomy procedures, Dr. Ochieng said most men noticed no change in sex drive, climax sensation in the testes or stratum, or with erection when compared to prior experiences before undergoing vasectomy.
A follow-up camp is scheduled for August 2013.