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Men's Health Issues Underlined

Activities were carried out across China Tuesday to mark National Men's Health Day.

The annual event, which was first marked in 2000 by the then State Family Planning Commission, is designed to raise public awareness of men's health issues.

Publicity activities were carried out nationally on male-centred reproductive health care issues and the roles played by men in family planning and social development were also discussed.

The former State Family Planning Commission first started pilot work in 16 cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Dalian in 2000, trying to integrate male health promotion and male involvement in family planning into community-based cultural and family planning activities.

Two years have passed, and one of the major achievements in Dalian is the rate of condom use has increased by 13 percent.

The commission pledged Tuesday to further extend the program to benefit more families.

According to Chinese tradition, women take most of the responsibilities regarding child bearing and rearing and they are also the major users of contraception devices.

Data from the National Population and Family Planning Commission shows that currently only 8.9 percent of men at reproductive age have undergone male sterilization surgery, and only about 5 percent of men use condoms for birth control purposes. In comparison, 46.3 percent of women at reproductive age use intra-uterine devices and 37.6 percent have undergone sterilization surgery.

"Men and women are the two components of human society, so they should equally share the various social and family responsibilities," said Zhao Baige, vice minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

In fact, there is a huge demand in society for more information about male health.

A survey among 23,651 people in Dalian, Liaoning Province, found that the demand for knowledge on male health issues ranks fourth just next to female health care, menopause and contraception methods.

Another investigation in Dalian among 2,582 men shows that 47 percent listed male reproductive health services as their first demand, especially for people at ages among 36-40 and above 50 years old.

(China Daily October 29, 2003)

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