LILONGWE—International Training and Education Centre for Health (I-TECH) has recommended that men who were partially circumcised during traditional male circumcision should get completely circumcised to enjoy the full health benefits of male circumcision.
Making a presentation to chiefs and members of Parliament for Lilongwe at Lilongwe District Council on the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) program which is expected to be offered from July 30, 2012, VMMC Program Manager for I-TECH Oliva Phiri said voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) unlike traditional male circumcision, completely removes the areas which are most vulnerable to HIV infection.
“Most traditional male circumcision only removes half of the foreskin leaving out the other half which is very vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections including HIV thereby reducing the health benefits of male circumcision,” said Phiri.
She said complete circumcision when compared to traditional circumcision reduces chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections by 60 percent, decreases risk of urinary tract infections in children, prevents balanitis and penile as observed in areas where traditional male circumcision was conducted.
“There is evidence that in areas such as Thyolo, Mulanje, Chiradzulu and Lilongwe where traditional male circumcisions happens there is high HIV prevalence rate when compared with international statistics of areas where complete male circumcisions happens,” said Phiri.
Commenting on the project, Member of Parliament for Lilongwe North, Titus Malipa advised I-Tech and Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) which is a partner in the program to enhance civic education on the importance of abstinence during the six week healing period after the treatment to avoid infections.
“I would like to advise I-Tech and the DHO to make the community understand the importance of abstaining for six weeks after the surgery because sexual activities during this period will expose them to HIV infections. They must also know that the surgery does not offer 100 percent protection otherwise people will consider VMMC as a passport to careless sex life,” said Malipa.
Traditional Authority Kalumba while agreeing with Malipa added that couple's counseling should be incorporated in the project to ensure that the couples understand VMMC.
“It would be beneficial if couples counseling is incorporated in this project just as it was incorporated in the prenatal clinics. This will ensure that couples understand the full benefits of VMMC and that it does not offer full protection to sexually transmitted infections, HIV inclusive,” said Kalumba.
VMMC which is targeting 80 percent of men aged between 15 and 49 who are considered a high risk age group and is expected to roll out on July 30, 2012 in Lilongwe. It will be offered in almost all government and Christian Health Association of Malawi CHAM hospitals and clinics. Mobile clinics will also be set up across the district to ensure accessibility to the service.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.