The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) began providing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services as a method of HIV prevention in 2007. It is against this background that the Khomas regional VMMC team is conducting a VMMC campaign for learners from 14 to 21 August.
The teams have set a target of reaching out to approximately 714 school learners in the Khomas Region during this period.
Sister Rauha Nengushe from Windhoek Central Hospital said that it is also worth noting that the backlog for booked clients has been cleared and there is a need to reach out more into the community through such campaigns. “I encourage parents to bring their boys to Windhoek Central Hospital to be prepared for circumcision on 14 August,” she added.
Nengushe said that in the meantime time the health ministry is still busy with the VMMC which started in 2007 but that a new team was introduced last year and that is when the campaign really started. “We are really impressed with how men have responded towards the campaign they are coming in droves, to get circumcised, but I still encourage those that have not come to come and get circumcised,” she added.
Nengushe also encouraged women to encourage their partners to get circumcised and to support them during the process and the healing period. “Having a circumcised partner does not directly reduce a woman’s risk of HIV, but women with circumcised partners have a lower risk of cervical cancer,” she said. She added that where many men get circumcised the rate of HIV infections tends to drop and this benefits everyone.
Namibia has set an ambitious target of scaling VMMC programs to reach 80% of HIV-negative uncircumcised men between the ages of 15 to 49 years of age by 2017. Namibia will also gradually introduce more services to provide circumcision of newly born boys, Early Infant Circumcision, (EIMC).
The first phase of the VMMC programme started in the Zambezi, Kavango (East and West), Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and Khomas. These are the regions that have low numbers of circumcised men and high HIV prevalence. The VMMC is delivered through health facilities as well as through mobile and outreach services.