HIV/AIDS has always been the countries top priority with the health ministry being pressured to reach their ambitious 2030 vision to bring HIV/AIDS infections to zero in the country.
“The Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of health have had three randomised controlled trial runs of the voluntary medical male circumcision programme prior to it’s launch in 2009. With the success of the programme around 20,000 sexual active males have been circumcised to date thus raising 80% awareness to men to encourage more males in considering medical circumcision,”said programme specialist Mr Dan Rutz of CDC.
“Though it can be argued that that male circumcision has long been a traditional method that has been practised for years amongst the Ovaherero tribe as it is compulsory for all infants to be circumcised as a result it was never considered to be a medical means of eradicating HIV/AIDS infections,” Rutz said.
“It has always been a form of tradition that separates boys from the men especially in African countries and one can also argue that it was never done in a safe hygienic way until government started to raise awareness campaigns for circumcisers to practice this ritual in a save manner,”.he added.
The Centre for Disease Control have assisted government in creating a demand for voluntary medical male circumcision also known as VMMC which has been scientifically proven to be an intervention method for reducing HIV transmission in amongst sexually active partners. Through the VMMC programme the ministry of health finally have something to smile about since they managed to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infections to a 60% less rate.
Meanwhile the ministry of health also started to work closely with circumcisers in rural areas that practise traditional circumcision by training them on how to perform hygienically safe male circumcision methods, as the government understands that there are still traditionalist that would like to stick to the old traditional methods.
The government has also been training nurses intensively two years prior to when the VMMC programme was launched, as by law only a qualified medical practitioner could perform medical male circumcision which used to be costly.
“Medical male circumcision has been found to be cost effective, as well as all procedures are free at clinics it has been known that healthy employers increases work productivity within any work environment which leads to a steady healthy work environment that enables the economy to grow,” added Rutz.
All males that have not been circumcised are encouraged to do so as procedures can be performed at all local regional clinics in the country as government want to achieve it’s target to circumcise 330,000 men between 15 to 49 years by the end of 2016.
The Ministry would also like to implement a national policy programme known as an Early Infant Circumcision strategy in the near future that will enable newly born babies to be circumcised.