Boys get circumcised

During the April School holiday the Pinda muSmart Male Circumsion School Holiday Campaign was held from April 6.

Male circumcision is being encouraged as it reduces the chances of being infected with HIV by 60%.

Population Services International (PSI)’s deputy country director Kumbirai Chatora said the campaign was very successful.

“The response was overwhelming. We thought the school-boys would not respond but they came in their numbers. These boys managed to get the consent and support from their parents, even though circumcision is still an uncommon practice in our society. We were happy with the support, especially from mothers”

About 6 000 boys between the ages of 13 and 19 were circumcised. The campaign was taken into schools in Harare, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Bindura, Chegutu, Norton, Mutare and Concession and most of the boys came from Chitungwiza.

The drive was centred on popular musician Winky D, encouraging circumcision as a lifestyle. Most of the young boys had heard Winky D’s jingle on air and this made them consider circumcision.

The youngsters felt proud to be associated with Winky D and the campaign.

Another part of the campaign was the “bring a buddy promotion” where young boys were urged to come out and get circumcised with a friend.

Prizes were given out for this.

Most of the boys who had been circumcised told others about what they had done and the benefits of the exercise.

“Because of the overwhelming response to the campaign, we have extended the drive to May 21 as it was initially only running up to May 6,” Chatora said.

The service is available at Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council’s — Spilhaus Clinic, Manyame Air Base Hospital in Harare, Bulawayo Eye Clinic, Mutare Provincial Hospital, St Joseph’s Hospital in Sakubva and Concession Hospital, free of charge.

Young boys need to have consent from a parent and know their HIV status before the procedure is carried out.

Testing and counselling services are available, especially on HIV prevention, and information on how to look after yourself after circumcision is provided.

The procedure is not painful and will only take a few minutes to complete. It involves removing the foreskin covering the head of the male organ (this part of the organ does not have any biological function), and is carried out by a trained healthcare professional in a clinical setting.

The following day, the client has to go back and have the bandages removed, receiving further information on how to look after the wound. On the 7th and 42nd day the client returns for further assessment.

The other benefits of male circumcision are that it improves personal hygiene, reduces the risk cervical cancer in women and reduces the risk of penal cancer in men.

In future the campaign will reach out to other schools and communities in the country, with a Father’s Day campaign coming up soon.

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