Top Menu

Zimbabwe government takes circumcision into the classroom

OFFICIALS from the Ministry of Health and Child Care have been going around schools in the country disseminating information on procedures and benefits of male circumcision to pupils, some as young as 12 years old, courting the ire of some parents.

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

The officials however said they were targeting pupils in higher grades in both primary and secondary schools. For anyone below the age of 18, consent for circumcision has to be sought from the parent or guardian.

But some parents felt that the issue of circumcision was being introduced too early and might be harmful to the pupils.

Ministry of Health and Child Care national male circumcision (MC) coordinator, Sinokuthemba Xaba said the exercise was meant to furnish the pupils with information which they would share with their families and help them make a decision.

“The exercise is merely for giving out information. We do not expect the pupils to then make decisions but the parents, if they so wish, will then consent in writing,” he said.

Xaba said in some instances the schools had invited them to either give the lectures to the teachers who would in turn filter the information down to the pupils, or address the children directly.

“It differs with schools; some allow us to interact directly with the pupils while some prefer the officials to address teachers. Bottom line is that it is all about disseminating the right information,” he said.

An official from Population International Services (PSI) said there was nothing wrong with disseminating information about circumcision to pupils.
He however admitted that some parents had reservations about the exercise.

“Even if the children do not immediately put the information to use, it might help them as young adults to know and appreciate the benefits of circumcision,” he said.

Last month, Xara said the programme faced a myriad of challenges which included limited demand for the services among older men, inadequate human resource and limited government funding.

This is despite the belief that if the exercise is successfully rolled out, 212 449 infections would be averted by 2025 while HIV prevalence would decrease to 4,4% by 2025 compared to an anticipated 7,3% if MC is not scaled up.

Parents who were attending a graduation ceremony at a preschool in Meyrick Park in Harare recently expressed mixed feelings over distribution of information about circumcision to pupils.

“I do not see anything wrong with the ministry giving information to the children as long as they are mindful of the language they use and do not try to manipulate the children,” said Sheila Hove from Harare’s Westgate suburb.

However, Robert Gwata from Richwell Gardens in Mabelreign had this to say: “Surely, that is a preserve of parents and guardians. Why should these guys go to schools and try to sweet talk our children to have the procedure done. We will have problems when they come home with their heads full of things that they have no control over.”

11 Responses to Zimbabwe government takes circumcision into the classroom

  1. Kev December 8, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Why isn’t this programme being promoted in the western or indeed the eastern world? UK, US, EUROPE, RUSSIA, CHINA etc??

    What are we not being told?

    • Nemo December 8, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      This is completely wrong. Such backward thinking is dangerous. The myth of circumcision’s perceived benefits has long since been debunked. There is no concrete scientific evidence to support these claims.
      This is an exercise geared towards finding foreskin donors to justify their budgets ergo their livelihoods. An investigation should be launched to confirm the veracity of these snake oil salesmen’s apparent generosity and magnanimity towards our vulnerable and unsuspecting young men.

    • Nemo December 8, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      In the developed countries the trend has been to move away from circumcision.

  2. Nemo December 8, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    This is completely wrong. Such backward thinking is dangerous. The myth of circumcision’s perceived benefits gas been long debunked. There is no concrete scientific evidence to support these claims.
    This is an exercise geared towards finding foreskin donors to justify their budgets ergo their livelihoods. An investigation should be launched to confirm the veracity of these snake oil salesmen’s apparent generosity and magnanimity towards our vulnerable and unsuspecting young men.

  3. Tichaona December 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    I hope its total confusion the love for money which have also seen popular gospel singer diverting from their core business.

  4. Bill NoCut December 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    Don’t get circumcised. It’s a scam.

  5. Owino Qane December 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    I wish people would read what has happened in Kenya,Uganda,Tanzania,Botswana,Malawi and other Sub Saharan African countries where circumcision is being sold to help avert the HIV trend.When Americans are capitalising on the ignorance of Africans read what happens.

    http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000093293&story_title=push-for-male-circumcision-in-nyanza-fails-to-reduce-infections

    en.starafrica.com/news/botswana-hiv-infection-among-circumcised-men-rises.html

  6. Hugh7 December 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    How much do you think the children will be told about the harms and risks of circumcision? The harms include impaired sexual functioning. The risks go all the way to amputation of the penis and death.
    And how much will they be oversold the benefits?
    * Will they be told that in 10 out of 18 countries for which USAID has figures, more of the CIRCUMCISED men have HIV than the non-circumcised?
    * Will they be told that Zimbabwe is one of those countries, with the same result in two surveys five years apart?
    * Will they be told that one study started to find that circumcising men increases the risk of HIV transmission to women, who are already at much greater risk?

    Let me guess: nothing, no, no and no.

  7. sean December 9, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    I’m starting a school programme to encourage girls to have genitals cutting too.

  8. Pudu December 15, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I get worried when Westerners who have not been affected by HIV/AIDS discourage Africans from interventions that have been tried & tested. I get worried when the same guys try to present Africans as unthinking beings who uncritically accept anything without looking at its scientific credibility. I become even more worried when Africans themselves believe these guys. Below is evidence & basis for African scientists’ adoption of MC for HIV prevention. The possible link between HIV and non circumcision was first hypothesised in 1986, the same year HIV was officially labelled the etiologic agent of AIDS. Three years later, findings from a prospective study of male clients of female sex workers in Kenya found a greater than 8-fold increased risk of HIV acquisition among uncircumcised men. Ecological studies also found that populations with the highest HIV prevalence were those in which small proportions of men were circumcised. A meta-analysis of 27 observational studies from sub-Saharan Africa published in 2000 demonstrated a 58% protective effect of circumcision in males. Moreover, a prospective study of discordant couples conducted in Uganda showed zero sero-conversions among 50 circumcised male partners of HIV-positive women, compared with an incidence of 17 per 100 person-years among the 137 couples where the male partner was uncircumcised. Furthermore, findings from a study conducted in 4 sub-Saharan African cities published in 2001 demonstrated male circumcision as the greatest predictor of HIV prevalence. Although ecological and observational data indicated a causal relationship between circumcision and reduced HIV incidence, doubts remained due to potential confounding by unknown or inadequately measured factors including sexual behaviours, cultural practices, religion, and hygiene. In addition, observational data mainly referred to men circumcised several years earlier, making determination of the timing of circumcision and a protective effect uncertain.
    By 2007, conclusive evidence of male circumcision’s protective effect against HIV had been demonstrated in three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were conducted in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda among over 11,000 men. Longer-term follow up suggests that male circumcision’s protective effect persists. Recent findings on population level impact from South Africa, confirm those from the randomized controlled trials.

  9. mwendamberi December 18, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    I just wonder why so much cash is being spent on resources to have people circumcised whilst we have people not getting ARVs , we have no dialysis machines, our maternity system is pathetic……………………isnt someone somewhere benefitting here?

AMH logo

© 2014 The Zimind. All Rights reserved.

DMMA logo