By Paul Nyathi|The state run Chronicle Newspaper reports that at least one million Zimbabwean men have been circumcised, in a development that will scale up the country’s progress towards reaching the global 2030 HIV targets.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, 1 144 061 men have undergone voluntary medical circumcision (VMMC) so far, a figure that is likely to go up by the end of 2018. The country missed its target to circumcise 1,3 million people by 2015 .
The Aids and TB Unit director in the ministry, Dr Owen Mugurungi, said efforts were still in place to get more men circumcised as figures show that only 21 percent of men have undergone the surgery that reduces chances of HIV infection by up to 60 percent.
“From programme inception in 2009 till December 2017, a total of 1 144 061 males have been circumcised in Zimbabwe. In 2017 alone, 301 366 men were circumcised across the 10 provinces in our country,” said Dr Mugurungi.
“The programme is now nearing attaining its initial target of 1,3 million men. However, when we reach this target sometime this year, we will not stop, but will continue providing this much needed service as we have come up with more targets until 2021 so that we ensure a good number of men are circumcised in Zimbabwe.”
He said the Ministry will continue providing services that will lead to the reduction of new infections.
“We continue to encourage men to seek more information regarding VMMC and make that important decision to get circumcised. It is still for free and is provided by trained doctors and nurses in many of our provincial, district and mission hospitals across the country, including some private clinics in Bulawayo and Harare,” added Dr Mugurungi.
Zimbabwe launched a Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision campaign in 2009, aiming to put 1,3 million men under the knife by 2015 after studies showed circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent.