2018 has marked itself as a notably active and global year. This sixth iteration of World Vasectomy Day has already made its mark on four countries spanning three continents with more to come. This semi-annual report serves to account for progress thus far in the year at the outset of a redirection of the WVD 2018 headquarters.
HAITI: During the month of March, working with Dr. Gianni Decastro, executive director of Profamil, we celebrated the country’s first World Vasectomy Day. With funding from FP2020, we were able to pilot an eight-step framework developed by our program manager Alison Hoover, taking the lessons learned from the five previous years of WVD. It took just 4 weeks to produce an extensive media campaign (see here and here for examples), train three doctors under the supervision of Dr. Michel Labrecque, Dr. Doug Stein and Dr. Jack Chang, support 25 community health workers, put together a media workshop and do 84 vasectomies in a single day with more than a 100 additional men registered, all of which helped solidify the framework and prepare it to be brought to scale in our other participating countries.
COLOMBIA: In early April, Dr. Esgar Guarin and Jonathan Stack traveled to Bogota to meet with Dr. Marta Royo and the Profamilia team as well as WVD content director Nicolas Cuellar. In just a few days, we met with leaders from the Ministry of Health, the mayor’s office, doctors, patients, health insurance providers and nearly a half a dozen of the main media outlets. Nicolas also prepared WVD’s first 360-degree video shown through virtual reality goggles, ensuring we remain at the forefront of ICT advancements. We are fully committed to bring WVD 2019 to Colombia and will be making an official announcement as part of the WVD 2018 celebration. As a bit of a sneak preview, WVD’s objective in 2019 is to have activities in all 44 countries in the Western Hemisphere!
KENYA: In April, we partnered with Dr. Charles Ochieng of WISPIVAS and Family Health Options of Kenya (FHOK) to offer four days of vasectomies. Working with media advisory board member Sennah Akoi, we organized a press conference that included presentations by Jonathan Stack, Dr. Doug Stein, Dr. John Curington and Dr. Boniface Sebikali of Intrahealth. Dr. Sebikali and Jonathan Stack met with Dr. Josephine Kibaru and the director of reproductive health for the Ministry to discuss the results of the Intrahealth study on WVD Kenya (an abstract from which is being presented at ICFP 2018 in Kigali).
MEXICO: In late June, Dr. Esgar Guarin, Jonathan Stack and Mariana Castro (WVD country representative) traveled to Ixtapa for the CNEGSR annual vasectomy retreat led by Dr. Eduardo Pesqueira and Actuaria Yolanda Varela. DKT’s Ana Karina de la Vega Millor and their medical director Dr. Luis Cruz offered prizes to the most active Mexican vasectomists. Dr. Michel Labrecque and Dr. Doug Stein offered scholarships to Dr. Francisco Morales and Dr. Juan José Hernández Garduño to travel to Canada and Florida, respectively, for a three-day intensive training. In addition, Isabel Veitez from Pop Council presented her findings from the investigation they carried out as part of WVD 2017. An abstract from this will also be presented at ICFP 2018.
Perhaps most impressive, the Mexico’s Centro De Salud has increased their financial commitment for WVD 2018. WVD is supporting the production of a media campaign and DKT is doing hundreds of vasectomies monthly in their ‘mobile medical unit’. It is safe to say that WVD continues on in Mexico, and continues to grow, even with a change in government scheduled to take place on December 1.
RWANDA: Although we did not complete the nine activities we had originally designed with the Ministry’s support and under the leadership of Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, we did produce over a dozen short films (see one here), trained 80 community health workers and signed letters of cooperation with 12 separate organizations, including every single major medical, midwife and nursing association. We have planted the seeds for a powerful and positive movement there, and I am confident that over time, our work will bear fruit.
WVD’s biggest challenge is in constructing a mechanism to make this growing movement self sustaining, which is why we see a silver lining in what just took place in Rwanda. We are now in New York City and our intention for WVD 2018, as well as offering increased support to our global partners, is to create the first-ever WVD pop-up clinic. More to follow, but ultimately, we see a huge opportunity in WVD clinics throughout the country.
WVD continues to spread and grow – continually inspiring men who rise up out of love for their family, their partners and our future. And we will rise together this year with World Vasectomy Day taking place from November 12- 16, not in one single venue, or even in a single country, but in hundreds of venues in dozens of countries.