The Dogg sets example with circumcision

The United States has now committed an additional N$100 million to support the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in Namibia. During the official opening of the VMMC Site in Swakopmund on Friday Namibian artist “The Dogg” announced that he will undergo the procedure in August this year – and the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, will circumcise him personally.

Male circumcision is safe, free and accessible to the public, thanks to the United States and various other donors that have made a huge amount of money available for this very purpose. “The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that circumcision reduces a man’s chances of getting infected with HIV by 60%. But, as it now stands, today only 31 % of the men between the ages of 15 and 49 in Erongo are circumcised,” said the U.S. Ambassador in Namibia, Thomas F. Daughton, on Friday in Swakopmund.
The event marked the scale-up of Erongo Region’s Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services. As the Minister Dr Haufiku explained during his remarks the reason for the launch lies in the fact that many young men migrate to regions with intensive mining and fishing activities, of which Erongo is one of them.
“The Strategy and Implementation Plan for the VMMC scale-up sets the target that by 2016/2017 330 128 men to be circumcised,” he said. This number was calculated to ensure that 80% of eligible men are circumcised to allow for a maximum benefit from VMMC. “The target for Erongo is 23 906 men,” Dr Haufiku continued. According to the minister 17 707 men were circumcised country wide for the year 2015/2016. Erongo region only contributed 253 men for the same period, which is only one percent of the intended target. “The situation needs to change now that there are additional resources,” he continued.
According to Dr Haufiku the procedure only takes 30 minutes and holds many health advantages. While it reduces the risk of HIV infection substantially, circumcision also improves hygiene, reduces the risk of developing penile cancer and reduces the risk of passing the virus that causes cervical cancer to their female partners.
During his speech Ambassador Daughton said that “experts tell us that Namibia is getting close to controlling its HIV epidemic.” Since the U.S. became a partner in the fight against HIV in 2003 the rate of infection has been reduced tremendously. While in 2003 one in four Namibian adults were infected, today that number is one in seven. “That’s right: The goal of epidemic control – of achieving an AIDS-free generation in Namibia – is within reach,” he said.
The main regional VMMC site is based in Swakopmund. Another fixed site is located in the Kuisebmond Health Centre in Walvis Bay. “In order to have the greatest impact possible, there are also several outreach sites where VMMC services will be made more accessible to men working in fishing and mining,” he said.
During the launch Namibian artist “The Dogg” announced his support for the campaign and said that he himself will undergo the treatment soon. The National Social Mobilization Campaign is therefore called “Get The Smart Cut with The Dogg.” “The Dogg” is the official VMMC Ambassador the VMMC for the year. The artist announced to undergo the procedure in Oshana Region in August this year.

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