Two million people to be circumcised by 2013
Male circumcision will now be conducted free of charge at all district hospitals, Dr Jennifer Mbabazi, who heads the National Circumcision Programme, made the revelations in an exclusive interview with The New Times.
Mbabazi further announced that the programme targets to have two million people circumcised by 2013.
She said that, under the sponsorship of the Global Fund, the programme has extended the necessary kit to be used in circumcision to 30 district hospitals which will in turn offer the service to the public.
“Only Muhima Hospital of Nyarugenge has not received the equipment among all the district hospitals. We are following up on the implementation, and actually, some of them have started”.
Dr Alphonse Muvunyi of Gahini Hospital confirmed that the local community in the area was enjoying the free circumcision services.
“In the past, we used to do it for Frw10,000, but now it is free. Such initiatives should be promoted because of their impact,” said Muvunyi.
Research shows that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting the HIV virus by 60 percent.
Dr Mbabazi notes that carrying out the procedure, free of charge ,will be yet another milestone in the fight against the spread of HIV/ Aids as there are no financial limitations involved.
Dr Bonaventure Nzeyimana, a public health expert, also said that health risks associated with those undergoing rudimentary circumcision would drastically reduce.
“It is part of our long term vision of providing the instruments, not only to district hospitals, but to all medical centres as well. People will be encouraged to get circumcised in hospitals, which is safe, unlike the primitive methods that may harm them instead.”
Some private practitioners circumcise people for as low as Rwf2,000, especially in the rural areas, though most are untrained to carry out the surgical procedure.
Since the sensitisation campaign for mass circumcision was launched, members of the public bemoaned the fact that the service was not covered for, under the community health insurance, Mutuelle de Sante. Thus, the news will come as a relief to many.
“Most of us want to have our children circumcised, but are hindered by the high costs involved. Perhaps the government should find a way of having at least half of the cost covered by Mutuelle de Sante,” Maria Kangabe from Nyakabanda Sector, Nyarugenge district, said in a recent interview.