Nationwide male circumcision begins in Zimbabwbe

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The United States Government has made available 5,000 medical kits
worth US$1,5 million for use in Zimbabwe’s growing program to provide
male circumcision services.

Supplies were made through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
and its partner John Snow International.

The US government, this week said male circumcision is a proven and
important way to reduce the incidence of HIV, a fact backed by the World Health Organization which estimates that male circumcision lowers the chance of contracting HIV in males by up to 60 percent.

At present, according to official statistics only 10 percent of adult males in Zimbabwe are circumcised.

USAID Health Development Officer Peter Halpert. “The circumcision kits
are the first part of a US $1.5 million PEPFAR donation of medical supplies that can facilitate up to 28,000 circumcision procedures. Each kit contains the necessary equipment to perform a male circumcision, including forceps, disposable scalpels, needles and gauze.

“Other support is being provided by the United Nations Population Fund
and Population Services International (PSI), which are partnering with USAID and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to expand male circumcision across the country.

“We are proud to support the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health in its efforts to support and promote widespread use of male circumcision in the fight against HIV/AIDS,”

“Male circumcision is a new and innovative way of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and we urge young men to consider the procedure” he added.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is expanding its pilot male circumcision program to make the services more widely available. The Ministry has identified a goal of circumcising 80 percent of adult (ages 15-49) and newborn males in Zimbabwe by 2015.

Estimates show that scaling-up medical Male circumcision services to
reach 80 percent of all adult and new born males in Zimbabwe by 2015
would reduce the number of new adult HIV infections by more than 80
percent by the end of 2025.

A string of circumcision clinics are already running in the capital Harare and some parts of the country.

According to information from the National AIDS Council, male circumcision is generally uncommon among the majority of Shona and Ndebele-speaking groups, some of whom underwent the procedure for religious or
cultural reasons.

Male circumcision is relatively safe, with a low rate of complications, most of which are easily treated. There are no major risks associated with the operation when it is performed by a trained person under hygienic conditions. The wound should heal within a period of six weeks.

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