Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

90 000 males circumcised in Zimbabwe

Close to 90,000 males in Zimbabwe have been circumcised so far this year, still short of the 2013 target of 115,000 but a remarkable increase from the 40,755 who underwent the procedure last year, says a health official. 

Nip and tuck ... An MP being prepared for circumcision as part of a drive to encourage people in Zimbabwe to do the same
Nip and tuck … An MP being prepared for circumcision in June 2012 as part of a drive to encourage people in Zimbabwe to do the same

The rise has been attributed to the increase in facilities offering the operation with male circumcision now performed at provincial, district and mission hospitals as well as at stand-alone centres dedicated for the process, says AIDS and Tuberculosis Unit Director at the Ministry of Health Dr Owen Mugurungi.

He added Monday that at least 87,858 males had been circumcised across the country from January to October this year.

“This year’s output marks a significant increase as compared with 2012, when a total of 40,755 males were circumcised,” he said.

Bulawayo had the highest number of males who were circumcised with 18 per cent compared with 5.0 per cent in Midlands, Mashonaland Central, and Mashonaland West provinces. The increase in Bulawayo was a result of a number of initiatives employed in raising awareness on the advantages of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).

Dr Mgurungi said the government would be increasing the number of teams trained to provide VMMC in provinces with low percentages of circumcised males. The Zimbabwe government introduced VMMC as a way of reducing HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases after evidence had demonstrated that circumcision reduced chances of men contracting HIV by 60 per cent.

The government is targeting to circumcise 217,800 people next year and 1.3 million by 2017. Male circumcision also reduces the transmission of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer among women with sexual partners who are not circumcised. New Ziana

  • ml66uk

    (I tried posting this earlier with supporting links, but it didn’t go through, so I’m posting again without the links. Sorry if it appears twice.)

    Condoms, not circumcision.

    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.”

    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”.

    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.

    Europeans don’t circumcise, South Americans don’t circumcise, Australians and New Zealanders used to circumcise but stopped, and less than half of North Americans circumcise. Why should Africans circumcise?

    Recent news from Botswana
    “There is an upsurge of cases of people who got infected with HIV following circumcision.”

    and from Zimbabwe:
    “SOME circumcised men are contracting HIV and Aids after ditching the use of condoms, under a misguided belief that male circumcision (MC) would prevent them from getting infected”

  • TLCTugger

    In the only controlled trial of male-to-female circumcision and HIV, Wawer/Gray showed in 2009 that cutting HIV+ Ugandan men made them 50% MORE likely to infect their female patrners. Until this finding is verified or understood, mass circumcision campaigns are disastrously irresponsible. Most of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth.

    • Wasu

      The argument is that circumcised men have a lower chance of being infected by their partners. The assumption being that the men are HIV negative at the time of the circumcision procedure. The second argument is that even when the man is circumcised, they should still use a condom if engaging in sex with a partner whose status is unknown. There has never been any confusion about the fact that circumcision does not provide100% protection, at least from those who did the study. More so, the so-called risk reduction through circumcision is one directional. (Reduces risk to the men, but not to their partners!!!!) This is the information that those who promote VMMC should relay to potential participants as well as to the potential participants’ partners so that people engage in safe sexual practices.
      Chombo chakachecheudzwa haisi license yekunonyika nyoro..(a “cut penis” is no license for unprotected sex)..period!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SteveB954

    The Nordic Association for Clinical Sexology says, “The penile foreskin is a natural and integral part of the normal male genitalia. The foreskin has a number of important protective and sexual functions. It protects the penile glans against trauma and contributes to the natural functioning of the penis during sexual activity. Ancient historic accounts and recent scientific evidence leave little doubt that during sexual activity the foreskin is a functional and highly sensitive, erogenous structure, capable of providing pleasure to its owner and his potential partners.”

    Why should a man cut off a part of his penis that provides pleasure to himself and his partners if he still needs to use condoms for protection from HIV?

  • Two surveys, one before the circumcision campaign began, one after,
    have both shown that more CIRCUMCISED Zimbabwean men have HIV than
    non-circumcised, and the same is true in 9 out of 18 other countries for
    which USAID has figures. So how can circumcising men help?

    How “voluntary” is all this circumcising? How much peer pressure is applied? How much coercion? How much blackmail of the form “We will provide your football team with kit, but only if you all get cut”? How much actual force?

    The last line is ridiculous. Some strains of HPV are associated with
    cervical cancer whether the women’s partners are circumcised or not. The
    circumcision-HPV claim is also dubious. But one reason to circumcise is
    never enough, is it? It’s a marketting ploy, like the “free gifts” that
    come with mail-order goods.

    • SteveB954

      Here is an example of an American NGO promoting male genital cutting in Zimbabwe. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pinda-Musmart-Ngena-Kusmart/312879925487726

    • Wasu

      Hugh7 , first of all I am not a representative of USAID or any other aid agencies, and the opinions I am expressing below are purely my own, and not of any aid agency or influenced by them. (That’s my little disclaimer)

      I don’t know and cant speak on behalf of others but what I know is that USAID and indeed other multilateral aid agencies abide by WHO principles in respect of incentivised HIV testing and VMMC. Therefore if there are local organisations who use donor funds to provide incentivised testing/procedures I believe they are in violation of their grant/co-operative agreements, and therefore should be taken to task.

      VMMC is known to reduce the risk of HIV infection among men by up to 60%. This is what the various studies have shown, but does not totally eliminate the risk of infection. Therefore those campaigning for VMMC should not make false claims in an effort to ramp up numbers. There are serious health risks and ethical issues where such claims are made. My own opinion having worked in the health sector outside Zimbabwe, is that there is a general skills shortage when it comes to HIV and related prevention programmes in Zimbabwe. Sometimes I am amazed by the lack of basic knowledge amongst Zimbabwean colleagues that I meet in workshops/conferences which reflects in the kind of issues raised above regarding coercion etc.

      Finally there are other clinical considerations for promoting VMMC that go beyond HIV/STI prevention. Like the hygienic factors both to the male and his partner. Then there are the numerous anecdotal evidence that support improved “sexual performance” especially coming from the partners of the circumcised males. (Before you fire at me for raising this point, please note that I actually qualified the statement by alluding to the fact that its anecdotal evidence – which is not the same as empirical evidence)

      Like I said before ….”Chombo chakachecheudzwa handi license yekunyika nyoro”……..