Only 9.25% male circumcision coverage reached

12 Feb 2016 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 12 FEB (NAMPA) – Namibia only reached 9.25 per cent national coverage for male circumcision among 15 to 49 year olds instead of the 80 per cent targeted in its 2015/2016 campaign.
Only 30 365 male circumcisions were carried out in these age groups while more than 330 000 were targeted countrywide to reduce HIV infections by 50 per cent, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku said on Thursday.
He was speaking here during the handing over of medical equipment to four private medical centres to carry out male circumcisions.
The recipients were the Circle Clinic and Wanaheda Medical Centre in the capital; Omwandi Pola Medical Centre in Ondangwa; and Northcote Medical Centre in Outapi.
“The national strategic framework (NSF) articulated the national goal to reduce HIV incidence by 50 per cent by 2015/2016. Male circumcision forms an important facet of Namibia’s HIV/AIDS combination prevention approach. Increasing national male circumcision coverage to 330 218 (80 per cent) among these age groups by 2015/2016 could avert 18 400 new infections by 2025,” Haufiku said.
Last year, only 20 per cent reported male medical circumcisions were carried out in the private sector.
In reaching the NSF goal, Haufiku suggested that there is a need for concerted efforts between Government and the private sector. It is against that background that the ministry partnered with the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF). The association in 2012 introduced a tariff that allows for medical male circumcision procedures to be covered as a HIV prevention benefit. This made Namibia the first country in the world to do so, Haufiku said.
NAMAF also gathers circumcision related data from affiliated medical aids to the ministry.
The medical centres received diathermy machines (which produces heat within tissues which causes coagulation of bleeding vessels and also cuts through tissue) and emergency medical kits during the ceremony. This will strengthen their ability to deliver medical circumcision as part of the national programme.
“If we are to reach the intended scale of interventions and make sustained prevention impact, we need more medical aid funds and doctors to partner with us in the promotion of VMMC uptake for HIV/AIDS prevention,” Haufiku added.