Government targets circumcising 1,2m males by 2015

The Health and Child Welfare ministry says it plans to circumcise about 1,2 million males in the country by 2015.

National male circumcision coordinator Sinokuthemba Xaba said the exercise was aimed at reducing HIV infections.

“We are hoping that by 2015, in terms of public health benefit, 1,2 million men should have been circumcised. That accounts for 80% of all the men in Zimbabwe and will have a national impact on the HIV epidemic,” he said.

Xaba said since the beginning of the programme, 30 000 men have been circumcised. He said last year alone, 11 176 males were circumcised.

He said there were seven clinical sites in Zimbabwe mainly in Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Bulawayo and Harare.

“In Masvingo Province there are no male circumcision sites, but 14% of the men circumcised last year came from Chiredzi,” Xaba said.

The National Aids Council (NAC) has, however, expressed concern at the low figures of men coming forward for circumcision.

NAC chief executive officer, Tapuwa Magure, said shortage of clinical centres was affecting the uptake of the programme by Zimbabwean men.

“Lack of male circumcision clinical sites in six provinces and delays in adopting a national model for the rollout of male circumcision has affected the overall reach of the programme,” he said.

Magure pointed out that despite the positive performance in condom promotion and distribution, awareness campaigns and behaviour change programmes, there had been a significant increase in the new sexually transmitted infections, “which rose from 173 916 recorded in 2009 to 248 995 in 2010, an increase by 30%”.

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