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Jhpiego celebrates circumcision milestone


JhpeigoMotsamai Mokotjo

Jhpiego on Friday celebrated the performance of 100 000 Voluntary Medical Male Circumcisions (VMMC) in Lesotho by holding a march in Maseru.

The non-governmental organisation—an affiliate of the United States of America-based Johns Hopkins University working in 155 countries and with 40 years’ experience in reproductive health and family planning— has been supporting the Ministry of Health in the VMMC initiative targeting males between the ages of 15 and 49.

The surgical procedure seeks to reduce the rate of HIV-infections and is expected to avert approximately 20 000 future HIV infections.

Friday’s march was also aimed at sensitising more men to get circumcised.

According to Jhpiego Communications Officer, Polo Motšoari, the milestone was reached between 2013 and June 2015.

However, Ms Motšoari told the Sunday Express that there were still misconceptions about circumcision which needed to be addressed.

“People need to understand that circumcision is all-year-round, not seasonal  or in winter only.

“We have also noticed that children are very keen to get circumcised, but their parents don’t want them to. Again, men believe that after getting the surgical procedure, they can engage in sexual intercourse without protection and without getting Sexually Transmitted Infections, which is wrong.”

Ms Motšoari also said children believed they could engage in sex after being circumcised, which she said was equally wrong.

According to Ms Motšoari, VMMC is continuing in 10 hospitals throughout the country, as well as select private practices in Maseru, Berea and Leribe which are assisted by the Ministry of Health, Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association and Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.

The procedure at all these facilities is free of charge, according to Ms Motšoari.

The ultimate goal, she added, is to reach 350 000 operations but would not commit to a date by which this figure should have been reached.

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