OVER 34 000 Swazi men have undergone circumcision since the inception of the programme about four years ago.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Stephen Shongwe said the figures also included those of men who were circumcised during the Soka Uncobe campaign which ended last month.
When the Soka Uncobe campaign was launched it had been anticipated that about 200 000 males would be circumcised.
However, the figures reflected a shortfall of over 160 000.
Shongwe said the circumcision programme will not die just because of the end of the Soka Uncobe campaign, but the ministry will integrate its facilities that provide the service to make sure more men get circumcised.
He said the exercise would be done in the existing facilities as it had always been happening.
These include public health centres such as Mbabane government hospital, RFM and Good Shepherd. The Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS) and PSI also provide the service.
Swaziland introduced male circumcision as an HIV prevention method and it had been seen to be reducing infection. Shongwe said circumcision had 60% chances of reducing infection of sexually transmitted illnesses.
“Male circumcision prevents 60% of HIV infections in men. Circumcision as an HIV prevention initiative is an effective part of the combination prevention package. In addition, circumcision brings men into health care services, where they receive risk reduction counselling, condom promotion and distribution and voluntary HIV testing and counselling”.
He said even though the exercise started off at a rather low note, more males now understood the concept behind circumcision.
The PS said the ministry had confidence that the awareness created by Soka Uncobe would lead to an increase in the number of men who chose to be circumcised.
Shongwe added that the ministry will now maximise on neo-natal circumcision, which was the circumcision of infants soon after birth.
SD first country to provide en-masse circumcision
WITH the highest HIV infection rates, Swaziland is the first country in the whole world to stage a nationwide male circumcision plan, it was established.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr. Stephen Shongwe said the campaign served as the launch of integrated circumcision programmes in Swaziland.
“Over the past year, services were scaled up during the intense efforts of the campaign. This was a strategic effort to increase awareness of circumcision in Swaziland and ensure that men who were interested in the male circumcision procedure were able to access information and the procedure,” he said.
He explained that the integration over the next few years would be targeted initially at a few health centres and would expand over time.
He promised that the ministry of health would continue to support Male Circumcision and would also ensure that such a service continued to be offered.