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In Bangladesh, a Father's Commitment

EngenderHealth Helps Bangladeshis Limit Family Size

Abdul Kader is a rickshaw driver by trade. But while he works hard to support his family by pulling this human-powered taxi, it is his vasectomy that makes him the unlikely hero. At age 50, this Bangladeshi father of three consulted with an EngenderHealth-supported family planning worker and realized that a permanent form of contraception would help him preserve his family size. This option would allow him to support his family on his modest rickshaw earnings, enabling his children to attend school and secure a brighter future. Abdul’s vasectomy dispels the myth in Bangladeshi culture that sexual performance is linked to strength. He remains as strong a rickshaw driver as ever, and after 30 years of marriage, he says: “I’m happy—my wife, too.”

Abdul lives with his family in the village of Vatgram, located in northern Bangladesh. EngenderHealth has been working in Bangladesh since 1974 and has been successful in helping to increase the use of contraceptives and improve living standards for women. EngenderHealth’s work in Bangladesh includes educating men and women about reproductive health, improving the quality of care, and training providers.

Abdul and his wife, Moshammat, have been committed to limiting their family size since they were first married. Initially, they used various temporary methods of family planning, such as condoms and the pill. After the birth of their second child, they decided not to have more children, and Moshammat continued taking contraceptive pills. However, she was unable to take the pills regularly, and became pregnant with their third child. Abdul and Moshammat decided they needed a permanent form of birth control because they feared that another pregnancy would seriously jeopardize their ability to raise the children they already had.

Abdul and Moshammat are very pleased with Abdul’s no-scalpel vasectomy, which is an easy, fast, and safe form of vasectomy, and they are no longer worried about supporting their family. “I have done the right thing in limiting the number of children [we have]…Otherwise, my family would have ended up with more children…[and] I would have not been able to support them…the way…I am for my three children.”

Abdul has become an important proponent of no-scalpel vasectomy in his community and serves as a peer advisor for information sessions supported by EngenderHealth. Not only is he pleased with his own choice, but he has encouraged his community to consider it a father’s commitment to his family. “People in the community know…and they appreciate me for what I have done,” he said. “I shared…my experience with some of my colleagues, and two of them have already accepted vasectomy as their choice of family planning method.”

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