The United States, through the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), the US Agency for International Development (Usaid) and John Snow International, has supplied an estimated 5 000 medical kits for use in Zimbabwe’s growing programme to provide Male Circumcision (MC).
A proven and important way to reduce the incidence of HIV, the World Health Organisation estimates that MC lowers the chance of contracting HIV in males by up to 60%.
Currently, only 10% of adult males in Zimbabwe are circumcised.
The Health and Child Welfare Ministry was expanding its pilot MC programme to make these services more widely available.
The ministry has identified a goal of circumcising 80% of adult (ages 15-49) and newborn males in Zimbabwe by 2015.
Estimates show that scaling-up medical MC services to reach 80% of all adult and newborn males in Zimbabwe by 2015 would reduce the number of new adult HIV infections by over 80% by the end of 2025.
The circumcision kits were the first part of a US $1,5million Pepfar donation of medical supplies that could facilitate up to 28 000 circumcision procedures.
Each kit contains the necessary equipment to perform a MC, including forceps, disposable scalpels, needles and gauze.
Other support was being provided by the United Nations Population Fund and Population Services International (PSI), partners, Usaid and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to expand MC across the country.
“We are proud to support the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health in its efforts to support and promote widespread use of MC in the fight against HIV/Aids,” said Usaid health development officer Peter Halpert.
“MC is a new and innovative way of preventing the spread of HIV/Aids and we urge young men to consider the procedure.”
In 2010, the number of people receiving ARVs with direct Pepfar funding increased to 59 00 up from 40 000 in 2009.
Pepfar’s 2011 budget for Zimbabwe was increasing by over 20% (US$10 million) over this current year to $57,5 million.
This follows a doubling of the Zimbabwe Pepfar budget from 2009 to 2010 (from approximately $26 million in 2009 to US$47,5 million in 2010).
Much of that increase came as part of President Barack Obama’s pledge of assistance to Zimbabwe.
Pepfar programmes were implemented in Zimbabwe by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Usaid, and the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section.