THE male circumcision programme that was launched in 2009 has only seen 10% of the targeted 1,2 million men by 2015 being circumcised, a government official said yesterday.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga Own correspondent
The programme’s national coordinator in the Health and Child Welfare ministry, Sinokuthemba Xaba, was speaking during the opening of a voluntary medical male circumcision clinic in Bulawayo’s Lobengula suburb.
He said most males feared getting circumcised due to a number of factors.
“More and more men have heard about the benefits of male circumcision, but have various concerns that prevent them from getting circumcised,” Xaba said.
“Males have questions like; what if something goes wrong?
“Will the wound heal? Where will my foreskin go? These are some of the fears that we hear every day from men who are considering going for the procedure.”
He indicated male circumcision was a simple and safe procedure that took less than 20 minutes and was conducted by highly trained doctors and nurses.
“During the procedure, you do not feel any pain as it is performed under local anaesthesia,” he said.
“With good hygiene and care, the healing process is fast and foreskins are placed in plastic bags and incinerated as per Ministry of Health and Child Welfare guidelines and the Human Tissue Act of Zimbabwe.”
Xaba also said the ministry wanted to expand male circumcision services to all districts nationwide.
He said the provision of more of these services will help to ensure that they were readily available even in remote rural areas.
Xaba said government was still a long way from reaching its target of having 1,2 million men circumcised by 2015.
“We need to further consolidate our partnerships with all stakeholders in the health sector, religious and traditional leaders and the media to help their communities better understand the benefits of male circumcision to men,” he said.
Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo, who officially launched the clinic, commended the opening of the facility — which will be the second one in Bulawayo.
“As residents of Bulawayo and Lobengula, you may be wondering why the city of Bulawayo is committed to the voluntary medical male circumcision programme?
“Male circumcision works as the ministry has carefully analysed evidence from the clinical trials conducted in three African countries, which showed that male circumcision offers 60% protection to men against HIV infection,” Moyo said.