October 24, 2012
Zimbabwe: Circumcision - Doctors Up in Arms
By Paidamoyo Chipunza Government has failed to achieve set targets for male circumcision because a few selected individuals are carrying out the procedure which any doctor should have been allowed to do, provincial medical directors have said. The country's provincial medical directors revealed this at an HIV and Aids meeting held by the National Aids Council in Kwekwe last week.
The provincial medical directors from across the country urged Government to incorporate male circumcision in the general health system to allow for easy access.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 80 000 men had been circumcised as of September against a target of 1,2 million for the next five years.
[There is no evidence that circumcising men in Zimbabwe has any effect against HIV.]
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This is the third year into the five-year target. The senior doctors also urged Government to expedite initiation of neo-natal circumcisions. [The men aren't buying it, so they come after the babies.]
"The problem is that male circumcision came as a programme where a few selected people were trained and put in charge. And yet this is a simple procedure which any medical doctor can perform," said the acting PMD for Matabeleland North, Dr Nyasha Masuka.
"Teams are coming from Harare or Bulawayo into our provinces, pitch their tents under a tree, circumcise a few men, and get paid hefty allowances and then leave."
Dr Masuka said the approach frustrated other doctors and patients.
"Some people hear of the programme when teams are long gone and the local doctor has to explain to them that the teams have left," he said.
Dr Zizhou said ... "If an old man from the village can perform this procedure [sometimes killing the patient] , then any doctor should be able to do that," ...
Acting PMD for Mashonaland West Dr Solomon Mukungunurwa said circumcision services should be universally accessible.
"If we are to realise full benefits of this programme, circumcision should start as soon as a child is born."