Finally Rwanda has bowed to public health demands by acceding to circumcision as another form of fighting HIV/ Aids. This follows research findings in recent times that circumcision affords males a 60 per cent chance of surviving HIV infection.
But this is what must be guarded against; circumcision is absolutely not a 100 per cent protection against contracting the HIV/Aids virus. In fact, it is no protection at all, but only another tool in fighting the spread of the virus.
Being circumcised is no vaccine against behaving recklessly. There are numerous health benefits to circumcision and its relationship with HIV/Aids is simply one of them.
Rwanda must wake up to many things science has brought to the rest of the world. Stigmas must disintegrate for health opportunities to be maximised. Circumcision of the body requires circumcision of superstition.
There are many things in Africa that people believe are inherently domestic to the land, and others that are inherently foreign. For a long time, circumcision has been something decidedly ‘un-African.’
We must not behave this way any more. A change in culture does not mean a depreciation of culture and modern Rwanda is a place where the safety and health come before anything else.
What must be decided, though, and this is a job for the Ministry of Health, is whether to advise circumcision as an immediate step after birth.
Certainly the idea of mass circumcision where there are many adult males lining up for the knife will be less appealing and therefore many people will not comply. More to this, like many new findings and policies, a lot of sensitisation is needed for this to be accepted with minimum suspicion.