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.
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