30 June 2012

Tanzania: Circumcision Appreciated in Kagera

Bukoba — OVER 15,000 males adults had been circumcised in Kagera Region between 2009 and March, this year, a senior Official with the International Centre for Aids Prevention (ICAP), Dr Julius Zelothe has informed the 'Daily News on Saturday.'

Medical reports from the regional hospital indicated that HIV infection rate had dropped significantly from the national average of 5.7 per cent down to 3.7 per cent, just to prove that the campaign was successful."

The response was quite promising as more people were turning up voluntarily for the cut. It is not true that people in Kagera Region hate being circumcised. More people including youths were taking part in the service," he said.

Dr Zelothe said the service was being provided at the Bukoba Regional hospital and Rubya hospital, in Muleba district, adding that plans were underway to provide services at Maruku and Izimbya Wards in Bukoba Rural district.

He further said ICAP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare had extended male circumcision services to residents in more than 15 Islands in Lake Victoria Archipelago. The services include Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMCT) and availability of ARVs. He said the target group was adult aged above 25 years old and response in rural areas has been more impressive compared to urban areas.

The first HIV/AIDS patient was recorded in Kagera Region in 1993. Since then, the killer disease has been spreading at a fast rate claiming thousands of lives, leaving behind more than 150,000 Aids orphans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), circumcision can reduce HIV infections by almost 60 per cent.

Meanwhile, Kagera Regional Commissioner, Fabian Massawe, has urged the residents not to relax and should take precautions to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS including the use of condoms.

He said economic activities in the region had been affected a great deal due to HIV/AIDS-related deaths, the reality that pushes the community to work harder to speed up development. He cited other challenges facing the region that include killings of albinos and the elderly.

Between 2009 and last year, five people with albinism were killed in the region on superstitious beliefs. Others are environmental degradation, armed robberies, coffee smuggling to a neighbouring country, pregnancies among students and illegal immigrants.

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