Male circumcision vital to end HIV

For every four Voluntary Medical Male Circumcisions (VMMC) one new HIV infection is averted says Rudo Chikodzore, Matabeleland South maternal and child health officer.

Mat South, maternal and child health officer Rudo Chikodzore
Mat South, maternal and child health officer Rudo Chikodzore

Recent studies have proved that male circumcision lowers the risk of contracting HIV by 76 percent and has further benefits such as the prevention of penile cancer and cervical cancer in women, and improved general hygiene.

If 1,3 million men between 13 and 49 years are circumcised the HIV prevalence, currently at 15 percent, would decrease to four and half percent by 2025 compared to an anticipated seven percent increase if VMMC is not scaled up.

“A total of 212,449 infections would be averted by 2025 and $1.13 billion would be saved by the government for use on other things,” said Chikodzore, one of the pioneer medical doctors to be trained under the Population Services International voluntary medical male circumcision programme at its inception in 2007.

In most African cultures and traditions it is considered taboo for a woman to circumcise men, but Chikodzore is on a mission.

“My profession does not look into all that because we are improving people’s lives through VMMC. Circumcision also prevents spreading of Human Papilloma Virus a sexually transmitted infection that causes cervical cancer in women,” she said.

Mat South is the least populated province in the country but has the highest number of VMMC. “Circumcising groups in Beitbridge such as the Xhosa and Vemba and holding of consultative meetings and respect of their values has been key. Nationally 8,000 boys and adolescents in the traditionally circumcising groups have been circumcised,” said Chikodzore.

Since the launch of VMMC in 2009 at least 203,525 boys and men between 15 and 49 years had been circumcised by December 2013.

More options

The introduction of the PrePex device, which offers safe non-surgical adult male circumcision, will go a long way in up-scaling VMMC. Population Services International has partnered government to set up nine one-stop sites offering PrePex and surgical services.

The centres also offer STD screening and treatment, voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and antiretroviral therapy. Decentralisation of training of health service providers at provincial level has increased provision of the service.

The country has a total of 101 VMMC surgical centres, 150 doctors, 459 nurses. Sixteen new sites are set to be established this year plus seven satellites.

Training of nurses and midwives in neonatal circumcision is ongoing. “The study started in July 2013 by midwives and so far 185 of the 500 babies for the study have been circumcised at Mabvuku and Edith Opperman maternal clinics. Only one minor adverse effect occurred and was resolved with minimal intervention. Assessment of 25 registered general nurses to perform surgical MC has been done on 100 men with no adverse effects,” said Chikodzore.

Post published in: News
  1. troy
  2. Ron Low

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *