One million KZN men to be circumcised by April: MEC

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South African boys from a rural area in the KwaZulu Natal province are briefed by an health worker from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) before undergoing medical circumcision as a form of HIV prevention on November 8, 2014 in the Mbongolwane district.

JOHANNESBURG – KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo has committed to have one million men in the province circumcised by April.

Dhlomo made the promise on Wednesday at a homecoming centre for initiates in the Harry Gwala district.

He explained that initially there were concerns that the district appeared to be lagging behind in terms of the uptake of circumcision, compared with other districts.

“This concern led to a conscious decision to investigate the reasons for the poor uptake and to also market and popularise the programme in this community. Indeed, what came out was the fact that there was circumcision taking place in the Kokstad community and that it was done in the traditional way as part of the initiation process for all the males,” Dhlomo said.

READ: Drive to root out illegal schools, botched circumcisions

This realisation led to the health department forging partnerships with the traditional committee and agreeing that:

•  The department,  through the EG Usher Memorial Hospital, will provide services such as HIV counselling and testing to initiates;

•  The hospital will sterilise pre-packed equipment (traditionally used)  and other surgical sundries to be used during initiation; and 

•  The hospital will allocate male nurses to focus on infection prevention and control as well as to observe initiates throughout the process.