WINDHOEK – Over 90 schools in the Khomas Region, both the private and state, have been reached to promote uptake and access to voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services for learners.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture have been working together to promote VMMC education at schools.
The partnership between the two ministries has seen the adoption of VMMC education become part of the School Health Programme. The education ministry, through life skills teachers, enabled learners to register for the service.
The first school campaign started in 2014 in the Oshana region and was later rolled out to Khomas, Omusati, Oshikoto, Kavango East and Kavango West, Zambezi, Erongo, Ohangwena, Hardap and //Kharas regions.
“In other schools, arrangements are made with school principals to facilitate service provision at schools, on an outreach basis,” said Manini Kandume, the AIDS-Free communication advisor. Initiated in 2009, the programme has been having minor issues which hindered and continue to disrupt the project, “Seasonality remains one of the greatest myths of circumcision – local beliefs that wounds don’t heal easily in summer months – however, the Ministry of Health and Social Services continues to educate clients about the availability of service throughout the year,” said Kandume.
She stated that any wound can heal when managed well, regardless of the time of the year. “Secondly, the element of pain that is associated with surgical procedures continues to be seen as a problem,” highlighted Kandume. She clarified that clients do not experience any type of pain as they are administered a local anaesthetic before the procedure and pain medication is provided for post-operation pain management.
“The health ministry is implementing VMMC at all state facilities throughout the country. The health ministry also partners with the private sector through AIDS-Free projects to increase VMMC service points. Other VMMC implementing partners are Jhpiego and I-Tech,” explained Kandume.
Research has shown that male circumcision can greatly contribute to the reduction of HIV at the population and individual level. The National Strategic Framework has put a target of 330 000 to be circumcised by the end of 2022. The number accounts for 80 percent of the total male population that is eligible for VMMC. So far more men have been educated on medical circumcision and 150 000 of them circumcised through the national programme at the end of 2018.
Benefits of VMMC
Other benefits to male circumcision include
- Penile hygiene (makes it easier to clean the end of the penis).
- Decreased risk of urinary tract infections.
- Reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men.
- Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.
- Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
- Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location).
New Era Reporter
2019-05-22 09:28:12 3 months ago