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Celebrity circumcision campaign paying off

LOCAL celebrities, who voluntarily took up male circumcision in recent past months, have inspired several villagers to do likewise, a health expert has said.

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

Population Services International (PSI) deputy country director, Karin Hatzold said responses to the male circumcision campaign had improved among the rural populace following the launch of the celebrity programme.

Since last year, more than 200 000 males have been circumcised in Zimbabwe and more are willing to undergo the procedure.

Celebrities that have publicly undergone the procedure include popular musicians Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Sulumani Chimbetu and Albert Nyathi, among others.

These, said Hatzold, have become a source of inspiration for other males from remote areas of the country.

Last week, Caps United Football Club player Hardlife Zvirekwi, underwent male circumcision at the PSI site in Harare.

Zvirekwi pledged to use his popularity to market the male circumcision campaign.

“The celebrity campaign is reaching people in all areas throughout the country. The national programme is flighting songs on radio, radio adverts, newspaper adverts, billboards, posters and leaflets,” said Hatzold.

The PSI boss said the campaigns would be launched in schools, workplaces, into villages and growth points around the country.

She said that Matabeleland North, followed by Matabeleland South, had recorded good responses to the male circumcision campaigns as compared to other provinces in the country.

Hatzold attributed the high response in Matabeleland North to the fact that male circumcision has always been part of the tradition in the area.

She however said that the response to male circumcision has been low in Mashonaland Central province.

In light of that challenge, Hatzold said PSI was working on increasing the number of male circumcision sites in the province so they were able to reach out to as many people as possible.

“Male circumcision prevalence varies by province with the lowest in Mashonaland Central. Since the majority of the Zimbabwean population is living in rural areas, we have adapted our programme and the service delivery model to reach people in rural areas and bringing the services to where people live,” she said.

Hatzold added: “We continue to engage more and more communities in rural areas to reach maximum coverage of MC services.”

She said PSI was planning on scaling up on its mobile outreach services in line with its target of 1,3 million circumcisions by 2017. Since last year, more than 200 000 males have been circumcised in the country.

“The programme is still in the scale up phase and we are expecting to further increase the number of sites and areas served with MC services in all districts over this year and the years to come to reach the national cumulative target of 1,3 million male circumcisions by 2017,” said Hartzold.

Studies in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda have shown that male circumcision reduces chances of contracting HIV by 60%, but scientists have disputed the percentage.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says male circumcision provides only partial protection, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package.

These includes the provision of HIV testing and counselling services; treatment for sexually transmitted infections; the promotion of safer sex practices; the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use.

7 Responses to Celebrity circumcision campaign paying off

  1. Mark Lyndon March 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Zimbabwean men are *more* likely to have HIV if they’ve been circumcised:

    12.5% of intact Zimbabwean men have HIV
    14.6% of circumcised Zimbabwean men have HIV

    (figures from Measure DHS)

    Other countries where circumcised men are *more* likely to be HIV+ include Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Swaziland. At least seven African countries where men are more likely to be HIV+ if they’ve been circumcised, and yet they’re promoting male circumcision to prevent HIV. What will it take to stop this madness?

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

    • Thabo Mokgatho March 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      Well said Mark thanks for putting the truth out there.

  2. Patricia Robinett March 18, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    Such a pity we as a people are so susceptible to influence by authority figures and celebrities. We abandon our wisdom to conform, fit in, belong. And it is our children who suffer for it.

  3. Frank McGinness March 18, 2014 at 3:57 am #

    Population Services International is pure evil in my opinion. Literally harvesting your skins as if you’re animals. Google ‘foreskin bio industry’. Someone is making huge money on your skin. Foreskin are valuable having 75% of the man’s sexual receptors. They want penises straitjacket by its skin and sexually handicapped. Cutters are pillaging your Temple of Love, taking away your ability for multiple orgasms and ability to give pleasure.

    Apparently 20 out of 100 men will get HIV by medical people. Do you want to take this chance?
    http://tinyurl.com/yks9apv 1/5 HIV Infections Caused by Medical Staff (5million/yr,Africa,09) papers backed by Royal Society of Medicine

    Rabbi Moses Maimonides:
    Over 800 years ago Moses Maimonides tells the harms of circumcision, also known as the “Rambam”, was a medieval Jewish rabbi, physician and philosopher. “…the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible.” & “The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.”

  4. sino Mlotshwa March 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    This is really great work that Zimbabwe is doing. Im just wondering that all the responses are from non Zimbabwean and would appear that the efforts of these responses are to dissuade Zimbabweans from interventions that improve their health. I think it is also very irresponsible for anyone to falsely insinuate what happens to the foreskins. In Zimbabwe all foreskins are incinerated in the particular facility or at an adjacent facility where this is not functional at the site. Lets not misinform people if we are not informed ourselves

    • Hugh7 March 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      The efforts of all us fellow human beings (who happen to be outside Zimbabwe) is to persuade Zimbabweans towards interventions that really do improve their health – unlike circumcision.

      sino Mlotshwa does not answer Mark Lyndon’s figures. Actually two surveys, one before the circumcision campaign began and one after, both found that more of the circumcised men have HIV than the non-circumcised. Until this is explained, men should resist being circumcised, and can NEVER rely on being circumcised to protect them. Since they still have to use condoms to be safe, what extra good can circumcision do? Another study, in Uganda, started to find that circumcising men INcreases the HIV risk to women, who are already at much greater risk, but it was cut short before this could be confirmed. Reports are coming from all over Africa that circumcised men think they are immune and are refusing to use condoms. Thus circumcision is going to do much more harm than good.

      Zimbabwe’s health system is in crisis. The money spent on circumcision would be far better spent reducing the infant mortality rate, for example by ensuring that everyone has clean fresh water supplies. Only people who survive to adulthood can worry about sexually transmitted diseases.

      • mlotshwa March 19, 2014 at 6:28 am #

        There is also deliberate misrepresentation of the ZDHS data because the HIV and STI co-infection has been known for a very long time. It is also scientifically proven that individuals with ulcerative STIs and also co- infected with HIV do not respond to conventional treatment in the same way. As such circumcision was used to manage some of these complicated ulcers that would not be responding to the GU treatment . Ordinarily when these individuals were randomly selected into the zdhs their hiv rates were higher. Further more the ZDHS did not confirm the circumcision status of these individuals but relied on self reporting and the limitations of self reporting are well known. It is well know that the circumcision that is protective is the one where most of the foreskin has been removed and therefore the zdhs did not confirm this and as such it is grossly misleading the comments raised by Franck and his team. Finally it is also very inaccurate to associate MC with the western world, in actual fact most of the African states already had this practice even well before the HIV era and the observational studies in many countries noted that circumcised men were less prone to acquiring HIV compared to uncircumcised..
        The decision to embark of MC was a conscious decision by the different states after satisfying themselves with the evidence generated locally and internationally. If Frank and team are not convinced then please don’t be circumcised until you are convinced. Zimbabwe has been over years taking deliberate decisions to fight HIV and this resulted in the most significant decline in Africa and Frank and team were at the time fighting against the use of condoms, it is a wonder why now they pretend to support the condoms and are against MC

        MC in Zimbabwe is provided as part of a comprehensive package and all progressive citizens are encouraged to embrace all HIV prevention interventions for a better Zimbabwe, never mind our detractors

        Mlotshwa

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