Malawi News Agency
April 23, 2014
Double knifed to fulfill the needfulby Josephine Chinele
Blantyre, April 23: Even though his son had gone through the traditional male circumcision, Geoffrey Linje, a Manase resident was not satisfied.
“During our time, the traditional circumcision was okay but nowadays, it’s fashionable to have both,” he said, whilst waiting for his 11 year old son who was having the second time circumcision procedure inside the make shift theatre at Namasimba primary school in Blantyre.
Linje recalls that during his youthful days, anyone who was not circumcised was regarded as a toddler even if they grew up and raised a family.
World Health Orgsanisation describes Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as the surgical removal of the foreskin- the retractable fold of tissue that covers the head of the manhood.
It is believed that traditional male circumcision rite is not fully done hence other people like Linje are taking their children to have VMMC.
The father of six children, two of whom are boys proudly says the first boy also had two circumcisions and this makes him feel better.
“The first circumcision is like a mere transition from a ‘toddler’ to a fully grown adult. Now with the advent of many diseases, it’s very necessary that such children should also have medical male circumcision,” he elaborates.
Linje is however quick to say he did not know of any VMMC campaign until his 11 year old boy told him that he heard from ‘chimkuza mawu’ (Mobile Public Address system) which was going around their area announcing the same.
He points out that VMMC reduces a man’s chance of contracting HIV and helps in hygiene of the individual.
Linje’s child is one of the many youths that expressed interest in VMMC at Namasimba mobile clinic.
Site supervisor, Jofirisi Jofirisi says the centre circumcised an average of 25 youths per day from April 9 to April 15, 2014.
“I believe adults are not forthcoming because of perception. May be they think they are already married and no longer need VMMC. The youth may be coming because they want to fit among their peers,” he says.
Nevertheless, Jofirisi reveals that all youths who present themselves for VMMC are tested for HIV, counseled and clearly told that VMMC is not an HIV vaccine.
“We also advise them to take a lot of fluids so that they should have frequent urination to avoid erection since this could disrupt the healing process and increase bleeding on the stitched area,” he says.
World Health Organisation says there is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent.
[Except in the real world:]
|HIV Rates:||Circumcised men||13.2%|
“Male circumcision provides only partial protection, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package which includes: the provision of HIV testing and counseling services; treatment for sexually transmitted infections; the promotion of safer sex practices; the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use,” reads the information in part.
"A Magic Nail provides only partial soup-making power, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive soup-making package which includes: vegetables; meat; herbs; stock; the provision of pepper and salt and spices and promotion of their correct and consisten use," he said in part.
The farmer's wife accepted this, and in the morning the traveller went on his way, refreshed after a night in a comfortable bed, minus the Nail, with some gold coins in his pocket and the thanks of the family ringing in his ears for the wonderful Magic Nail that made such delicious Nail Soup.
Thus if a circumcised man doesn't get HIV, circumcision will get the credit, but if he does, he can be blamed for failing to take the other precautions. And if a non-circumcised man gets HIV, his foreskin will be blamed, but if he doesn't, nobody will take any notice.
Circumcision is as good at preventing HIV as a Magic Nail is at making soup.]
PSI Community Counselor responsible for Blantyre Manyowe, Chikondi Magalasi, says many people still do not know the difference between VMMC and traditional circumcision.
“I have at least encountered situations where people decided to take their children for VMMC even after they had the traditional one like the case of Mr. Linje,” he says.
Magalasi says to some extent, ‘Angaliba’ (Traditional circumcision surgeons) are feeling threatened by the coming in of VMMC since they think it may take away their source of income and public respect.
“VMMC is not only cultural but a must-have for today’s man. Women should also take a role by encouraging their spouses to go for it since one benefit of VMMC is that when a man is circumcised, they don’t carry the Human Papaloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer to their spouses,” he elaborates. [That is completely false]
Another Community Counselor responsible for Nancholi, Jonathan Dinesi says it is pleasing to note that some parents have been taking their children to have VMMC even if they already had the traditional one.
“I have personally met three of such children aged between 10 and 15. It takes an understanding parent to do that,” he says. [Misunderstanding, rather.]
Ministry of Health’s deputy spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe says the fact that other parents are taking their children for VMMC even after the traditional rite is an indication that people understand the VMMC concept. [Except "Voluntary"]
“The message, however, still stands that VMMC is a supplement to all other HIV prevention measures not a vaccine therefore people should still observe abstinence and condom use,” he emphasizes.
Chikumbe says the ministry is trying to work together with ‘Angaliba’ so that they should be arranging for the initiated boys to have VMMC at a medical facility then take them back to their initiation camps so that their job is not compromised. [Oh dear, heaven forbid that their jobs should be compromised?]