BY TATENDA CHITAGU
AT least 49 000 people have gone under the knife countrywide in the past one-and-half months, as circumcision continues to get a buy-in from men, a senior official in the Health and Child Care ministry has said.
Speaking at a male circumcision graduation ceremony for the Tshangani community at Mahlanguleni Business Centre on Saturday, national coordinator for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in the Health ministry, Sinokuthemba Xaba said the government will meet its target of circumcising 1,3 million by next year.
“Forty-nine thousand countrywide have been circumcised in the past one and half months,” he said.
“We were targeting 60 000. However, we are way on target to reach 1,3 million by next year when the first phase ends because at the moment, we have reached 900 000 people.”
Xaba said between 6 000 and 10 000 people go under the knife countrywide per week.
He said among interventions to reduce HIV and Aids prevalence, circumcision had helped.
“While there are many interventions to stop the spread of HIV as evidenced by the drop in the prevalence rate, like condom use, male circumcision has also helped that cause,” Xaba said.
“One area in Chiredzi had a high HIV prevalence, but the figure has dropped due to circumcision, though it may not be circumcision alone.”
Xaba said the government has also engaged the Tshangani, Remba, Xhosa and Muslim community to provide clinical male circumcision.
Speaking at the same event, Population Services International (PSI) country director, Staci Leuschner said they value the partnership they have with the government, their partners and the Tshangani traditional leaders for them to provide safe medical male circumcision to the community.
“We want to thank our funders, partners and the traditional chiefs, who allowed us to provide safe medical male circumcision in the camp.
“We thank the traditional leaders and the local leadership to be part of this successful journey together. We feel very honoured to be a part of safe medical circumcision,” she said.
Leuschner said this year, 2 400 people had been circumcised in Chiredzi district.