The Star (Kenya)
April 5, 2012
Cash incentives for uncut Nyanza youth
By Samuel Otieno
Boda boda [bicycle taxi] operators in Nyanza province might be given cash incentives to persuade them to get circumcised, a national task force has said. ''Despite much progress in male circumcision in Nyanza, majority of the targeted youth remain uncircumcised,'' said the National Male Circumcision Task Force. According to the task force, the primary target group of sexually active group, especially those in their 20s, is becoming a hindrance to the operation as they cite loss of income during the recuperation period as the reason for not being circumcised.
The task force chairman, Jackson Kioko, said yesterday: ''Most of the men aged 25 years are shying away from the cut for numerous reason such as lack of loss of income and demands by their partners as well possible complications.'' He said the task force is looking into ways of tapping into the age bracket with possibilities of offering stipends, if need be, to those who will undergo the cut. “Most of those who defy the cut and are within the target group are the boda boda guys who fear loss of income,” said Kioko.
He said a pilot programme has been launched in one of the districts in the province that will entail building shades for the initiates to gauge the level of acceptance in a conducive working environment. Said Kioko: ''Most of those defying the cut were basing their argument on misinformation about the voluntary medical male circumcision. We will invest in dissemination of proper research information to the public about voluntary male circumcision.''
Among other strategies, he revealed that they want to employ include work place intervention and weekend camps for the targeted age groups. Early studies by male circumcision consortium said a misconceptions about Male circumcision has been discouraging some men from getting the “cut.” Among the main reasons the study participants cited for not getting circumcised were missing time from work during the healing period after the procedure, the length of the required post-surgical period of sexual abstinence, and the possibility of experiencing serious side effects.
The findings and other results of the qualitative study were conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS), Impact Research and Development Organization, and the University of Nairobi with support from the Male Circumcision Consortium. The study involved 12 focus group discussions with men who said that they were not circumcised and did not plan to get circumcised. The 121 men, ages 18 to 40, were recruited at markets, shopping centres, and workplaces in Kisumu East, Nyando, and Kisumu West districts.
The occupations represented included bicycle transporters and other workers in the informal sector, students, farmers, and shop or kiosk owners, as well as teachers, fishermen, drivers, and religious leaders. Time away from work and cultural beliefs were considered the primary barriers to male circumcision. Younger men consider male circumcision a medical intervention, while older men were more likely to refer to it as a cultural practice meant for other ethnic groups.
[The amount of effort being put into circumcision - at the expense of AIDS prevention that is known to work - is obscene. If this much energy and money had been put into promoting condoms, safe-sex practices and sterile medical facilities 10 or 20 years ago, the epidemic would have been licked by now.]