At the Wandegeya taxi stage in Kampala, a storied building with a poster, Rita’s Health Clinic, invites 12-45-year-old males for free circumcision. In addition, a repetitive recorded message is played for those who may not have read the sign post.
Much as most health centres in Kampala provide free male circumcision services, a chat about circumcision with my male friends at Makerere University often creates discomfort. According to some students, this is partly due to the mushrooming clinics with quack surgeons.
Nevertheless, Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) is important and it should be promoted. Medical experts define male circumcision as the removal of the foreskin from the penis. The foreskin covers the penis, which is soft and susceptible to diseases because it can easily get cracks.
According to SMC surgeon Abraham Twinomujuni of Makerere University Hospital, once the foreskin is removed, the penis becomes hardened with time. This, he says, reduces the chances of infections.
The benefits of safe male circumcision, according to Twinomujuni, include decreasing chances of HIV infection by 60 per cent, improves hygiene, reduces chances of prostate cancer, reduces the chances of spreading Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Despite awareness campaigns, the negative attitude towards male circumcision remains widespread.
According to the Journal of Global Health in Uganda, educated men regard circumcision as unnecessary compared to uneducated men, partly because the educated are more informed about other HIV prevention methods.
They are, therefore, less willing to undergo SMC.
This explains why the national policy on safe circumcision being implemented by the Uganda Ministry of Health requires continuous aggressive promotion. Initially, the ‘Stand Proud.
Be Circumcised’ campaign launched by the Health ministry in 2011 was popular but with time it seems to have waned. The campaign aimed at increasing awareness about the health benefits of circumcision and help boys and men make informed decisions about SMC.
Uganda is one of the countries with the youngest population in the world. If we embrace male circumcision as an HIV preventive measure, the youth will be able to contribute productively to the country.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor