About 16 500 Bulawayo men have reportedly undergone circumcision since the launch of the programme two years ago.
Addressing delegates at a National Aids Council Matabeleland North provincial stakeholders’ meeting in the city last week, Population Service International (PSI) counsellor Widzani Nleya said despite the huge figures recorded so far, men were still sceptical about the programme.
Health experts believe circumcision reduces chances of HIV infection by at least 60%. Nleya said the age of the circumcised population ranged from 13 up to 49 years, adding the last three months witnessed 995 Bulawayo men undergoing circumcision.
“Bulawayo has within the last three months circumcised 995 men, but we would like this response to be like in Chiredzi where 2 400 men were circumcised in August alone,” he said.
“The challenge which circumcision is facing in Matebeleland North is one of misinformation,” he said.
“Men in areas such as Hwange, Tsholotsho, Nkayi and Bubi still consider it as a ritualistic practice of Xhosa people.”
Nleya said the problem faced by PSI in Matabeleland North was high staff turnover.
“Some districts do not appear in our reports because we do not have trained doctors in those areas,” he said.
“Therefore there is a need for training and addition of more staff for male circumcision in Matabeleland North so that they spread the message of circumcision as well as conduct operations.”
Zimbabwe has set itself a goal of circumcising 1,2 million men by 2015 through the free circumcision campaign offered by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in conjunction with PSI and other partners.