24 October 2012

Zimbabwe: Neonatal Circumcision

CHILDREN will soon be circumcised at birth under a national programme to achieve maximum results of the medical procedure, senior health officials have said. Aids and TB Unit director in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Owen Mugurungi said Government was planning to start neonatal circumcision as soon as possible.

"We hope between 2013 and 2014 we would start neonatal circumcisions at a national scale," he said. "It is actually more sustainable than adult circumcisions."

Dr Mugurungi said some children were already covered under Government's catch up phase targeting children and adults between the ages of 13 and 29 years.

He said for every 200 000 babies circumcised, about 1 500 new infections are averted.

National male circumcision co-ordinator Mr Xaba Sinokuthemba said they submitted a device used to do neonatal circumcisions for approval to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.

"There is no device that has been approved to work here in Zimbabwe and we have actually taken a device that is currently used in Botswana," he said. "This is the device that we have sent to MCAZ for approval and hopefully, very soon neonatal circumcisions will begin."

Government intends to circumcise one million men between 2013 and 2015. The turnout has been very low in the previous years with only 85 000 circumcised since the inception of the programme. Chances of a man acquiring HIV from an infected partner if circumcised are less than 60 percent.

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