by Doug Stein
NSVI President Ramon Suarez, NSVI VP Nenita Suarez, Development Director Doug Stein (myself), all from the USA, and NSVI Philippines Mission Veteran Robert Kulik from Poland all traveled to Bali, Indonesia to take part in World Vasectomy Day 2015. The location was the site of the International Conference on Family Planning sponsored by the Gates Institute. NSVI and WVD were to give men a voice in a conference previously devoted exclusively to female options for family planning. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)
Bali is one of the smaller Indonesian Islands (a little smaller than Delaware, and just east of Java) but it has a population of 4.3 M people and what seemed like almost as many motorbikes. The Family Planning Conference was to take place at the International Conference Center in Nusa Dua on the smaller southern projection of Bali. There, WVD would have a booth and provide presentations about the success of WVD over the past two years, while networking with 3600 representatives of other family planning organizations around the world. WVD was scheduled for Nov 13, the day after the conference was to end, in a beautiful temple-like community center in Gianyar, close to the famous artsy town of Ubud.
Just to Bali’s east is the island of Lombok, home to Mount Rinjani, a volcano that chose to misbehave during the days leading up to the conference. Many flights into Bali were cancelled because of the ash cloud. As a result, the Family Planning Conference was cancelled 2 days before its planned commencement. Most of the WVD staff, as well as Drs. Ramon and Nenita Suarez had arrived a week before the conference to prepare, and the cancellation was devastating. My arrival from Singapore was delayed two days. Nevertheless, World Vasectomy Day took place and was a big success in its own right.
The WVD staff met my wife and me at the airport. Dina Purito Antonio-Jufri (far left), a Filipina filmmaker (actually a protege and friend of Jonathan) living in Jakarta, is a detail-oriented event producer with a clear vision of the mission of WVD. Elisabet Widyastuti is the Executive Director of PKBI (Indonesian Family Planning Association) Central Java. The American WVD Staff are introduced HERE.From the airport Dr. Suarez and I were whisked directly to a nursing school in Denpasar …… where a large audience was waiting to learn all about vasectomy. I spoke first with Dina translating to Bahasa …… and Dr. Suarez followed with a talk on the social benefits of family planning through vasectomy. The audience seemed to be almost as pleased with our talks … as with the photo ops that followed.Off to Ubud for two days, we enjoyed restaurants with delightful servers …… walks on the wild side,
and a few spectacular beaches:
Then it was time to meet our hosts. Dr. Asri came all the way from Jakarta to showcase the mobile vasectomy van that he had helped develop. With Robert observing and Elisabet translating, we shared technique videos …
and he proudly presented one of his mobile vasectomy vans.
which also serves as a platform for delivering other forms of contraception to remote towns. The expression on the bus means, “Come join Keluarga Berencana (family planning)”.
We then met Urologist and Chief Trainer for vasectomy in Bali, Dr. Gede Wirya Kusuma Duarsa. Known by his initials, Dr. GWK is often called “Dr. GaWiKa”. Here we present him and Dr. Asri with thermal cautery units donated to WVD by Bovie Medical Corporation.Another person who helped make WVD 2016 a big success was Pak (“Mr.”) Katut Sukatana the Executive Director of the Bali branch of the National Family Planning Association (PKKB) who agreed to have his own vasectomy performed on World Vasectomy Day. In a radio interview, he discusses his decision with interviewers …
… following which he (seated left beside Dr. Suarez) joined Jonathan Stack in discussing the medical and social benefits of vasectomy …at a large press conference:Three days before WVD, the WVD Team was scheduled to bring an actual live vasectomy to the conference via the internet from the office of Dr. John Mc Cormick in Dublin. The Conference Center was empty due to the Conference cancellation …
but Conference officials permitted the WVD Team to use the designated room …
and the show went on as planned.
Word about NSVI’s presentation to the nursing school in Denpasar reached another nursing school on the far north shore of Bali in Buleleng. So the next day we negotiated heavy traffic and periodic rain to reach a large crowd of very receptive students
… who studied the NSVI Vasectomy brochures written in Bahasa …
… while we installed our PowerPoints into their computers/projectors. Ramon and I started with the basics of vasectomy …
and the roles of NSVI and WVD in providing and promoting vasectomy services worldwide
while Ramon provided a technical description of vasectomy and answered excellent questions
from a very smart and attentive audience.
The MadaJet is always a big hit and provides a memorable hands-on experience.
As a gynecologist, Robert explained how vasectomy is truly an Act of Love in his own practice among couples who don’t do well with female contraceptives.
This really struck a cord with the ladies.
The School Headmaster was so pleased to receive his WVD plaque.
He gave us all a sarong …
… and individualized certificatesFinally, Dania led cheers for vasectomy, NSVI, and World Vasectomy Day.We drove all the way back to southern Bali past some very pretty scenery
but we still were not done for the day, as Pak Katut had invited is to do another presentation at a community center in Denpasar. The audience was smaller but composed of many fathers
These community centers / temples are a great source of local news and information for Balinese neighborhoods, and NSVI provided some of that education
Dr. Suarez had the audience captivated and laughing once again about a subject not often addressed in public places, and we tried to inspire some men to make the trip to Gianyar for the WVD celebration the next day.
The WVD staff traveled from their accommodations in Nuda Dua to Gianyar at 4 AM on the Big Day to get set up. By the time Ramon and Nenita and I arrived, the venue was full and Jonathan and Dania were in their comfort zones as Masters of Ceremony.
It was fantastically decorated …
… for a flowery presentation of traditional Balinese dancing and music.
The WVD Technical Staff and local media aficionados captured the action with 6 cameras, mixed it with 5 computers, and live-streamed the event around the world.
Meanwhile, in 3 mobile vasectomy vans just outside the venue, vasectomies were performed by local vasectomy providers (most trained by Dr. GWK) and by Drs. Asri, GWK, Suarez, and myself. No-needle anesthesia and thermal cautery were used for the first time in Indonesia, and Drs. GWK and Asri were VERY pleased.
NSVI presented Dr. GWK with a MadaJet for his own use
and is committed to providing the same for Dr. Asri during future meetings.
Please go to the World Vasectomy Day Website to see still and video images of the events leading up to WVD and the live-streamed celebration itself. It is easy to scan the recording to pick out interviews with vasectomy supporters around the world, video clips from the 3-year history of World Vasectomy Day, and highlights of the actual Bali event.
NSVI is also inviting Drs. Asri and GWK to come to the Philippines during its February 2016 Mission to share even more with another 8 of the world’s most skilled and enthusiastic vasectomy providers. Given that the island of Java has 140 million people living in an area the size of Louisiana, we are hoping that further collaboration with these champions of vasectomy might lead to an invitation to NSVI to return to Indonesia so that NSVI can help Indonesia meet its own population challenge.