Move to meet male circumcision target

HARARE - In a bid to promote voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in Zimbabwe, stakeholders are now looking at new devices such as prepex, a method which enables non-surgical medical male circumcision.

Reports indicate that so far the uptake of VMMC still stands at 4,8 percent  of the 1,3 million males target.

If the target is achieved, the country is set to save $2,9 billion dollars in care costs related to HIV management among others.

Matabeleland South provinicial medical director Rudo Chikodzore said the introduction of new devices such as prepex can promote the uptake of VMMC in the country.

“If we are able to circumcise at least 80 percent of our men aged between 15 and 49, at least we are able to turn around the HIV situation in Zimbabwe. The potential impact of VMMC in Zimbabwe according to the mathematical modelling, they (researchers) were saying that 600 000 new infections could be averted by 2025 if we meet the target. Forty two percent of all averted new infections would be directly attributable to male circumcision,” she said.

Chikodzore added that “The potential savings from that is about $2,9 billion, which is a lot of money which could be used for other purposes. Looking at Zimbabwe, we have only been able to achieve about 4,8 percent of our target so we still have a long way to go”.

Zimbabwe, being among the 14 high priority countries in Africa with a 15 percent national HIV prevalence rate, opted to go the circumcision route after a study found that the procedure reduced the chances of contracting HIV by 60 percent.

Other benefits of VMMC include hygiene, reduced chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer.

Country specific studies have shown that if the set targets are to be achieved in Zimbabwe, one in every four men will be prevented from contracting HIV.

She said, last year, 112 000 men were circumcised against a national target of 115 000. This year the country intends to circumcise 217 800 men.

Basing on the growing male interest in circumcision and new inventions, Chikodzore said partners remained hopeful that the target would be achieved.

“We were very close to meeting our target. The faster we scale up, the sooner we will be able to reach our targets. Even when we look at the statistics from 2009, you can see there is a gradual increase and the highest increase started when the scale up started (last year),” said she said.

Strategies being used include advertising, involving celebrities, school campaigns, new centres roll out, training of nurses to carry out male circumcision and engagement of traditional leaders.

Chikodzore said myths and fear of pain are among the reasons why Zimbabwean men are afraid to get the nip.

“There are a lot of fears and perceptions around VMMC which are untrue, for example around the disposal of foreskins. They are incinerated the same day. The incinerators are not really a no go if people have doubts,” she said.

With a 20 million circumcision target, the 14 high priority countries have so far circumcised 6 million men in total.


Comments (3)

Why are Zimbabweans men being misled to believe that this practice will reduce HIV infection? Where in the world was a research caried out to conclude that this will indeed work. Is somebody benefiting from this futile practice that will lead to an increase once more of STD in Zimbabwe?. This is a satanic, idiotic and naive exercise that that men in Zimbabwe will live to regret . The world does not have any imperical evidence that this practice indeed reduces STDs/HIV.

Ziziharinanyanga - 13 April 2014

Circumcision does prevent certain disease as is proven in Israel. According to the covenant of Abraham all Jewish males are circumcised when they are eight days old, This practice is 3500 years old. In Israel cervical cancer is unknown in Israel. It also reduces the transmission of HIV. The Five Books of Moses was way ahead of its time!

vortex - 13 April 2014

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