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Hardap men get the chop – free!

Christencia Thataone, director of the Hardap Health Directorate in the Ministry of Health and Social Services has urged men from across that region to take part in the male circumcision exercise recently introduced by her directorate. Thataone says circumcision plays a huge part in reducing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when used together with other preventative measures. (Photograph by David Adetona)Free male circumcision surgery for all in Hardap region

The Hardap Health Directorate’s offer to perform circumcision on men who agree to surgery at the Mariental State Hospital over the next two weeks, has fallen on deaf ears. By Friday, 4 November only two men had come forward to be chopped.

The operation is part of an initiative by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Hardap Regional Council to enhance the fighting and prevention of the spreading of HIV/AIDS pandemic in the region.
“The male circumcision surgical operation is the removal of the foreskin on the male genital organ. The procedure is aimed at reducing the possibilities for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV/AIDS infections in our region,” said Christencia Thataone, director of the Hardap Health Directorate.
According to Thataone, male circumcision was done in the past for traditional and religious practices. Today, it is used and recommended as a HIV/AIDS preventative strategy. Male circumcision has proven to contribute to the reduction of HIV transmission from infected to uninfected individuals.
Thataone says that male circumcision will reduce HIV/AIDS transmission by 60%; when used together with other preventative methods in an attempt to find a solution towards the spreading of the disease in the region.
She added that male circumcision also plays a role in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections as it promotes personal hygiene for the male genital organ.
“The Hardap region has a low male circumcision coverage which translates into 7% according to the Demographic Health Survey of 2006/2007, while a prevalence rate of 9% was recorded at the 2010 HIV/AIDS Sentinel Survey. It is of great importance that this male circumcision execise is conducted as intervention in reducing the pandemic in our region.
“Therefore, the male circumcision surgery by the visiting volunteer specialist doctors in the field of urology and local medical staff, as well as creating awareness to inform, mobilise or sensitise the community will start everyday by 8:00.
“The registration of patients has commenced already and will continue throughout the campaign.
All interested patients will receive education on male circumcision, HIV /AIDS counseling and testing, monitoring, observation, aftercare and follow up after the surgery,” Thataone explained.
Adolescents and children under the age of 18 will be allowed to take part in the exercise only when a parent or guardian gives permission for the surgery.
Thataone however cautioned that all employees in the government, as well as in the private and public sectors should ensure that special arrangements and permission are obtained from their employers in order to take part in the exercise without their work being affected.
“The Hardap health directorate started the implementation and development of the male circumcision programme in the region last year, but is currently in need of additional qualified medical staff for the extension process,” Thataone concluded.
The government, through the Ministry of Health and Social Services, officially introduced medical male circumcision last year as part of the prevention package of HIV/AIDS.

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