5 July 2013

Malawi: Kasungu Registers Low Turnout for Male Circumcision

Blantyre — Kasungu Health Authorities have expressed concern that a few men are undergoing voluntary male circumcision in the district despite studies showing that the intervention reduces HIV transmission by about 60 percent.

District Medical Officer for Kasungu, Dr Sosten Lankhulani told the Malawi News Agency (Mana) that within the past two years, only 400 men have been circumcised in the district against the annual target of 21, 000.

"We are not fairing very well in terms of male circumcision because our target has been to have at least 21, 000 population circumcised every year.

"But in our district only 400 men have undergone circumcision for the past two years," said Lankhulani.

According to Lankhulani, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the low turnout in the district some of which could be wrong messages being propagated and also the perception of some other men regarding the circumcision itself.

"There are misconceptions bordering on culture and the health perspective about circumcision. We are dispatching several messages for example at the hospital where we are doing health education to the people who have come for medical consultation.

"Every morning we send health surveillance assistants to dispatch the messages to the community and we have engaged the chiefs as well as some religious leaders to deliver the message to the community," he said.

He said currently, the health officials in the district are advocating for the male circumcision because they are aware that it reduces the risk of HIV transmission by about 60 percent which according to Lankhulani is a fair percentage looking at the prevalence rate of HIV in the country.

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