Lowveld circumcision figures drop as hunger stalks region

THE number of Tshanganis attending the annual circumcision ceremony in the Lowveld this year dropped to 490 from last year’s 2 400, as many are no longer able to bring adequate food supplies into the month-long camp due to hunger stalking the region.

BY TATENDA CHITAGU

Some of the Tshangani men who underwent VMMC Iin Mwenezi recently

Speaking at a graduation ceremony, known as Hoko at Nyangambe Turf Ranch School in Mwenezi recently, National Aids Council (NAC) Masvingo provincial manager Edgar Muzulu said some areas in the Lowveld did not have circumcision ceremonies due to food shortages.

“Most camps did not convene due to resource constraints, but we thank PSI [Population Services International] for coming up with resources. We have had cases of food shortages and the community experienced drought so they could not mobilise resources. The area has been hit by food shortages and some could not come to camp. We hope the situation will be better next year,” Muzulu said.

PSI Masvingo provincial manager Ronald Timbe said although the number of men going under the knife had increased over the last few years, it suddenly dropped this year.

“The community had embraced VMMC [voluntary medical male circumcision] over the years and it is a positive development, but the number of inmates fell this year due to resources. We had to chip in and mobilise the resources for the ceremony to go ahead,” he said.

The Tshanganis traditionally practise circumcision and have now partnered with the Health ministry, NAC and PSI to do it surgically, commonly referred to as VMMC, which is provided by trained doctors.

A representative of Chief Chitanga, Ernest Chitanga, said families in the area were in dire need of food aid.

“We have been hit by hunger. We appeal to government for food aid. We usually have drought here as we don’t have normal rainfall like other parts. We usually rely on small grains here,” he said.

Mwenezi falls under natural region five and six and gets low and erratic rainfall.

According to the World Food Programme, about 1,1 million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid before the 2019 harvest.


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