August 19, 2012
KENYA PRISONERS BENEFITS FROM MALE CIRCUMCISIONBy Maurice Alal
Prisoners in Nyanza Province of Kenya are currently benefiting from Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as one of the educational programmes aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the area.
The programme, which is an initiative of the government with various health partners in the world, targets the prisoners, fishermen among others who have not gone for the cut.
The demand for male circumcision in prisons is overwhelming because the prisoners are the most neglected and at risk of HIV infections. This is because of various behaviors in these institutions. [Yes, behaviours over which circumcision can have NO EFFECT.]
"There are a lot of sexual activities such as homosexuals that exposes prisoners to high rate of infections. [... and probably IV drug use] The prisoners come from different areas with unknown backgrounds," said the Social Mobilizer, Dan Aketch of Impact Research Development Organization.
But Aketch noted with regret that the traditional practices by Luo community have been a stumbling block towards ensuring that the spread of the disease is reduced.
Some of the stumbling block included wife inheritance which the community continue to adore and should be abolished immediately especially at the beaches where the practice is rampant.
However, Nyanza Province Aids Prevention and STIs Coordinator Dr. Charles Okal asked the prisoners to embrace circumcision and behaviourial change to make sure they stick to one partner as a measure of bringing down the high rate of the scourge at the beaches and prisons.
"Male circumcision in prisons is on the right track and over 3000 prisoners have been cut so far," Dr. Okal disclosed, expressing hope that 90% target will be achieved the end of 2013.
He however warned the prisoners who have undergone the cut to guard against the unprotected sex especially those who have served their jail term pointing out that male circumcision does not prevent one from the scourge infections but only reduces it by 60%.
The medic urged the prisons management to carry out voluntary counseling and testing and distribute condoms to prisoners especially those that have serve the jail term when leaving for home.
"It is encouraging that circumcision has been impressed by prisoners making turnout very high. If this continues the government will be able to breathe a sigh of relief," Dr. Okal stated.
This has prompted the government in collaboration with other organization such as Impact Research, Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Nyarami to expand on VMMC alongside counseling and testing.
According to HIV Counseling and testing officer of Nyarami in Migori district, Mr. Dennis Owuor most prisoners are very happy of the voluntary counseling and testing that is carried out in the prisons department.
"Most of the prisoners after serving their jail term come to the facility to take condoms for protection. This is because when in prisons they do not know their partners HIV status," Owuor said.
However, a quarter of over 260, 000 men who have been circumcised in Nyanza since 2008 through Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision reducing chances of HIV infection by 60% are prisoners, Dr. Okal revealed.
[It seems clear that Dr. Okal has no idea how circumcision is supposed to prevent HIV, and is a victim of magical thinking.]