• June 20th, 2019
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Over 90 schools reached with the promotion of voluntary circumcision



Paheja Siririka

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 28 days ago

3 Comments

  1. User
    Paul Gardener

    This is a disgrace. The studies on HIV were flawed and are not able to be repeated. Last year a study prove the exact opposite that circumcision increases HIV rates. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30067842). The only thing that prevents STI's is CONDOMS. Nothing else! To keep doing mass circumcision, without evidence base is tantamount to crimes against humanity. There are no benefits for circumcising healthy boys and men. Only 1 in 16667 men ever require it. The foreskin is like the eyelid, it is there for protection, lubrication and pleasure. As for cleaning, you can was a penis in half a cup of water. Patients must research circumcision very carefully before undergoing the procedure, because it is irreversible. Those patients who are unhappy and feel they were not properly informed should seek legal redress.

  2. User
    Mark Lyndon

    Male circumcision is a dangerous distraction in the fight against AIDS. From a USAID report: "There appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence—in 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries it is higher." (this will include men who were circumcised tribally rather than medically, but they and their partners may also believe themselves to be protected, and the whole rationale for the RCTs into female-to-male transmission was a purported correlation between high rates of male circumcision and low rates of HIV) From a study in South Africa in August 2018: "Medically circumcised older men in a rural South African community had higher HIV prevalence than uncircumcised men, suggesting that the effect of selection into circumcision may be stronger than the biological efficacy of circumcision in preventing HIV acquisition." [or that male circumcision simply isn't efficacious at preventing HIV acquisition] It seems highly unrealistic to expect that there will be no risk compensation. The South African National Communication Survey on HIV/AIDS, 2009 found that 15% of adults across age groups "believe that circumcised men do not need to use condoms". This figure seems to have been unchanged in 2012. A study in Zambia found that "30% of women at R1, and significantly more (41%) at R2, incorrectly believed MC is fully protective for men against HIV." It is unclear if circumcised men are more likely to infect women. The only ever randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised. ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, and especially Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery seems likely to cost African lives rather than save them.

  3. User
    Lewis Malarki

    These children (like the readers of this article) are exposed to a great deal of information about dubious "benefits" of circumcision -- but what about the demonstrable benefits of foreskin, including immunological (disease-prevention) benefits? Are these children adequately informed as to the sexual advantages of the foreskin, do they learn its biological functions? Are children informed of the intrinsic harm, as well as risks of complication, from this unnecessary genital amputation? Are these children taught safe sex and good hygiene -- the only real way to combat STIs? In the rollout of VMMC across Africa, where is that INFORMED CONSENT duly required by modern bioethics? The fact that circumcision actually promotes the spread of STIs needs to be acknowledged. Otherwise, all of this information is biased (misinformation).