GOVERNMENT has launched an accelerated voluntary male circumcision programme targeting over 900 000 by 2018 amid revelations of a slow uptake of the option.
BY FELUNA NLEYA
The programme, the Accelerated Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) Operational Plan, was launched last week and runs up to 2018.
To date, 400 235 males have been circumcised since the programme began in 2009.
Speaking at the launch, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said: “It is with this in mind that the accelerated VMMC operational plan is being launched to ensure that the country further consolidates its achievements so far attained in the fight against the HIV and Aids epidemics.
“The tenets of this operational plan are basically the business unusual approach. I implore all levels of my ministry and stakeholders to take note of and implement. What this implies is that we all need to take extra-ordinary steps to ensure that we achieve the targets enshrined in this operational plan.”
Parirenyatwa said the business unusual approach was needed in order to reach the remaining 70% target in less than three years.
“The business unusual approach means that we all have to change the approach we have always had, to think and plan more creatively than we have done in the past, and to act in a manner that is consistent with an emergency mode of operations in order to reach all men who would like to access circumcision services,” Parirenyatwa said.
“It, therefore, requires that an unprecedented approach to mobilising men and boys be employed, that services be made available at all times and at places that are not necessarily traditional and in a manner that appeals yet also guards against complacency of actions following circumcision.”
Parirenyatwa said they had also trained nurses to allow them to circumcise and not leave the task to doctors only.
He also warned those who would have been circumcised against engaging in unprotected sex.
“May I also add a word of caution to all males who undergo circumcision that while this is a very important intervention, it is only partially protective and, therefore, there is need to continue to use other HIV prevention methods as well such as abstinence, faithfulness to one sexual partner, HIV testing and condom use, among others,” Parirenyatwa said.
Over the past two years, all the provinces have been performing reasonably well in terms of the circumcision exercise with the Matabeleland province leading.