By Patience Nyangove
OVER 35 000 men in the Khomas region have been circumcised through the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC).
Speaking in Windhoek last week at the handover and launch of VMMC clinic, United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson said VMMC in the Khomas region has now increased to 45 percent among men aged between 15 to 29 years old.
She added that these statistics translate to more than 1000 new infections that have been prevented since the programme started three years ago.
“We celebrate this achievement today as a milestone on the march to epidemic control. VMMC, is an evidence based prevention strategy and a crucial component of that combination. Specifically, research has proven that being circumcised reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by 60 percent-a truly impressive figure. VMMC also protects against other sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV, which can cause cervical cancer in women,” she said.
The Ambassador also announced a partnership between government, the private health sector and the insurance industry to standardise circumcision tariffs as well as train private health providers.
“Circumcisions under this programme are paid for by medical aid from which private providers claim directly. But the programme equally welcomes clients who do not have medical aid. Their circumcisions are covered by a subsidy that the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) provides to the private providers,” Ambassador Johnson stated.
Speaking at the same event,, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Benetus Nangombe, commented the Khomas region for increasing access to VMMC as compared to other regions.
“The medical aid industry also put Namibia on the HIV prevention world map being the first country to pay for circumcision for HIV prevention. I am informed that since October 2014, VMMC services have been availed to the general public in the Khomas region.
“Currently, there are 16 private health facilities where men and youth can receive VMMC services including a free smart cut for those without medical aid. This great partnership has been made possible with the support of USAID through AIDS Free and has enabled over 35 000 (Aids free) men and boys to access medical circumcision in a private clinic. In this financial year alone 11 365 AIDS free men and boys have received a free smart cut at these clinics in Khomas with an adverse event rate of 0.7 percent well below the acceptable rate,” he said.
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