20 November 2012

Zambia: Women Should Encourage Their Partners

Photo: Edward Echwalu
Medical male circumcision in progress

CHIEF Mumena of the Kaonde people has called on women to encourage their partners to seek male circumcision services.

Speaking at a voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) stakeholders meeting held recently at Hotel Inter-Continental in Lusaka, the traditional leader called for an increase in male circumcision communication.

"Male circumcision is about survival. Women should realise that male circumcision helps prevent cervical cancer, thus women should demand for their partners to get circumcised," she said.

The meeting, which drew participants from diverse spheres such as health institutions, non- govermental organisations and the Ministry of Health, was meant to review the progress of VMMC activities in Zambia for the months of August and September.

At the same event, Health Deputy Minister Patrick Chikusu said the Government recorded 62,000 circumcisions during the period under review.

He said the number was double the target of 30,000 males who were targeted for circumcision in the country.

"This is a monumental achievement and substantial contribution to HIV prevention. Moreover, this campaign marks a significant milestone in the scale-up of the national male circumcision programme," he said.

Dr Chikusu also reiterated the call for women to convince their partners to get circumcised.

Mark Storella, who is United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Zambia, said the US Government had tripled its contribution towards the male circumcision exercise for Zambia.

"We commend the Zambian Government for allocating K1.3 billion to support male circumcision and thus we have tripled our contribution to now be US$17 million towards the circumcision programme," he said.

Mr Storella said it was now possible to see a generation free of HIV/AIDS and that prevention is an effective tool alongside voluntary testing, availability of condoms and safe sex practices.

The meeting was partly organised by JPIEGO and PEPFAR as well as the Ministry of Health, and also involved an awards ceremony for male circumcisiobn sites which had done well for the months of August to September.

The Copperbelt Province won the best overall performance nationwide.

The best performing JPIEGO-supported provinces were won by Western, Central and Copperbelt provinces.

Mukinge Mission Hospital, and Loloma and Namwala general hospitals got the most improved sites award while the best performing sites awards were given to Lewanika, Kabwe and Kitwe general hospitals.

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