By Donna Collins
MALE circumcision was given the thumbs up during the opening of the first Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Clinic (VMMC) at the Swakopmund State Hospital last week.
The Minister Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku said that circumcision has been proven to be an effective prevention of HIV/Aids, and that this scale-up campaign in the Erongo region is being rolled out countrywide.
“We need to carry the message to the people of every region and motivate men to become circumcised in our effort to reduce the spread of the HIV/Aids virus,” said Haufiku.
“The Ministry has a strategy in place for reducing HIV/Aids, and our aim is to circumcise at least 34 000 men nationwide before 2017, as it is scientifically proven that this procedure reduces a man’s chances of getting infected by 60 percent.” Introducing the ‘guest of honour’, Haufiku welcomed celebrated musician and VMCC ambassador The Dogg to the podium. The Dogg is throwing his weight behind the cause and will be travelling to all regions in support of getting the “smart cut”. Thomas Daughton US Ambassador to Namibia said that they have injected N$100 million into the VMMC campaign being spearheaded in Erongo, and is also aimed at the Oshana, Zambezi and Khomas regions. He said by adding VMMC to other pillars of combination prevention, this greatly strengthens the country’s ability to reduce new HIV infections.
Daughton also stated that to reach their goal of circumcising the targeted quota, they need to operate on at least 75 men every day.
He said that the Erongo region is an important part of reaching their goal as men from all corners of Namibia are drawn to the region for jobs; and it is for this reason that the main regional VMMC clinic is based in Swakopmund.
Furthermore another fixed site is located in the Kuisebmund health Centre in Walvis Bay, as well as several outreach sites where VMCC services will be made more accessible to men working in the fishing and mining sector.
“The United States has been Namibia’s committed partner in the fight against HIV and Aids since 2003, when nearly one in four Namibian adults were infected – today the number is one in seven.
“The next two years will be crucial in our collective responsive to HIV, but experts do tell us that Namibia is getting close to controlling its HIV epidemic,” added Daughton.
Meanwhile Nikki Soboil who is the programme director said the clinic has been functioning for a few months prior to its official opening. The procedures are performed by a team of registered nurses, who are fully VMMC trained.
Soboil said that on average they are circumcising between 20 and 30 men a day, and want to go up to about 50 a day. She said the procedure takes an hour, with minimum down time to recover. After the procedure it is important to note that men stick to all the guidance given by the health workers to ensure proper healing.
With about 20 percent of Namibia’s male population circumcised, much of it done traditionally, because of health benefits, the VMMC is now offering this procedure to be done in health facilities meeting agreed safety standards and focusing on minimising pain and discomfort.
It was also said that whilst circumcision is not a miracle cure for aids, it greatly reduces the risk of HIV, but it is important to still use condoms and practise safe sex at all times.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015