Sunday, April 20, 2014

KENYA: Chief charged with cutting daughters

The Star (Kenya)
April 18, 2014

Narok chief suspended over FGM

by Kiplang'at Kirui
A chief in Narok South subcounty has been interdicted for allegedly allowing his two daughters and two neighbours to undergo the female genital mutilation.

Deputy county commissioner Stephen Nyakundi said chief Lekishon Moriaso of Maji Moto location was arrested on Monday and will appear in court.

The chief was arrested at his home when Nyakundi led the AP officers and county children officer Julius Ngoko and stormed the celebrations after the cut.

This comes a day after a 13-year-old girl was reported to have bled to death in Kajiado county after she was circumcised.

The girls aged between 14 and 16 were taken to Narok County Referral Hospital for treatment.

MALAWI: Older men are not buying circumcision...
April 16, 2014

Malawi: Young Men Embracing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision [Older men, not so much]

by Brenda Nkosi
Blantyre - A visit to centres that are doing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in Blantyre revealed that patronage is mostly by young boys of between 10 to 25 years.

This corresponded with what Population Services International's Team Leader, Martha Kadyasichi at Chilomoni Centre said when a team of journalists visited the centre for observation on Tuesday.

"There are two reasons that could be contributing to the low turn up of older men as the exercise is encouraging men from 10 to 45 years old.

"There is the requirement to abstinence from copulation for 42 days after being circumcised and I think the other reason is because the process of VMMC involves V[oluntary ]C[ounselling and ]T[esting] which most men prefer to shun," said Kadyasichi. [So they are resisting finding out whether/that they are HIV-positive.]

Kadyasichi said men are very difficult to motivate which has been a setback in their turn up for the exercise.

A 40-year-old, Kristen Chazako, who escorted his 12 year-old son at Chilomoni Centre said he was yet to make the decision to be circumcised.

"I have just come to escort my son because he has asked me to come with him. I don't think I will get circumcised myself. The programme is good for young boys," said Chazako.

Government through the Ministry of Health introduced VMMC as one way of strengthening prevention of HIV.

HIV Rates:
Circumcised men
Intact men

However, VMMC is not a national programme ...

UGANDA: Myths about circumcision help spread HIV

Is anyone surprised?

April 15, 2014

Is female participation in voluntary medical male circumcision of any value? Experiences from Uganda.

by John Byabagambi, MPH
Improvement Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Uganda adopted voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as part of its comprehensive HIV prevention strategy in 2009. From its inception, the service was designed to target males and most of the efforts were focused on ensuring that as many males as possible were circumcised. In December 2012, a PEPFAR interagency team conducted an external quality assessment for the Uganda program and found several quality gaps. ... there were various myths surrounding circumcision which led to negative outcomes, and we believed that, by engaging female partners, we could educate them about the process and improve outcomes for males undergoing the procedure. Some of these harmful myths include: having unprotected sex after circumcision promotes wound healing; a painless post-circumcision penile erection is an indication of complete wound healing; as a cleansing procedure, the first post circumcision sexual encounter should be with a partner that will never come into your sexual life again; and there are possibilities that lignocaine may affect penile function and the sooner these effects are tested after surgery through sexual intercourse, the better.

... Here is a service whose main goal is to reduce the chance of HIV transmission, but what is happening is that it’s leading to behaviors that greatly promote HIV transmission because it is promoting unprotected sexual intercourse for clients with fresh wounds, which act as a direct entry portal for the virus! The myths encouraging even males who have been faithful to their partners to have multiple sexual partners - a known risk factor for HIV transmission because of the belief that they need to “cleanse themselves.” Through discussions with staff and clients we learned that it was actually the female partners that were encouraging their male partners to have intercourse with other women so that they wouldn’t transmit the bad omen to them, the most common omen being that their foreskins would peel off.

Additionally, we heard complaints in which female partners were reluctant to allow their spouses to complete the mandatory six weeks of post-circumcision abstinence to allow complete wound healing. Some circumcised clients reported that when they would inform their partners about the period of abstinence, their female partners would think that their partners were cheating on them, and that it was untrue that they must abstain for that long.

ZIMBABWE: Men are not buying circumcision...

Men aren't buying it...

Newsday (Zimbabwe)
April 14, 2014

Low uptake of male circumcision

by Feluna Nleya
ZIMBABWE has recorded a very low uptake of the voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) within and the country is failing to meet targets set every year, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.

Speaking at a workshop hosted by the Population Services International (PSI) in Bulawayo last week, Ministry of Health and Child Care Matabeleland South provincial medical director Rudo Chikodzore said the male circumcision programme was lagging behind set targets.

“We are trying to scale up on the circumcision programme as we are working against our targets,” Chikodzore said. “We have been able to achieve only 4,8% of the target and this means we still have a long way to go.”

Last year, Zimbabwe had targeted to circumcise at least 115 000 men, but only managed to have 112 869 men go under the knife.

In 2010, the target was 20 000, but 11 123 were circumcised. In 2011, 36 742 were circumcised against a target of 60 000, while in 2012 only 20 775 against a target of 80 000.

She said that high male circumcision should be able to turn around the high HIV prevalence.
“We should be able to avert 42% of new HIV infections through scaling up of MC between 2011-2015. If MC is scaled up, we will be able to avert 150 000 new infections,” Chikodzore said.
[That's very debatable:Zimbawe: circumcision vs HIV]

PSI director for VMMC Ngonidzashe Madidi attributed the low targets to men’s fears of the surgical procedure.

“Men have certain fears of the surgical procedure,” Madidi said. “Many men were shunning the programme because of it being surgical and men have the fear of injections. That is why there is a new method, the Prepex, where we use a device around the foreskin, thereby cutting blood supply to the end. The device is worn for seven days and is only used by adults of 18 years and above.”

Madidi said 161 men have undergone circumcision through the prepex method since March 31 this year.

PSI is using celebrities as brand ambassadors in order to lure more men to be circumcised. The ambassadors include Albert Nyathi who was circumcised last week, Jah Prayzah, Sulumani Chimbetu, Winky D and Fungisai Mashavave-Zvakavapano.

Earlier story

ZIMBABWE: they're doing it to babies they do it to people who can't resist.

Newsday (Zimbabwe)
April 15, 2014

500 infants circumcised in government programme

THE Health and Child Care ministry has circumcised at least 500 infants in a pilot programme which started last year designed for young children before they become sexually active.
by Feluan Nleya
The ministry was working together with the Population Services International (PSI) on the programme.

PSI director for voluntary medical male circumcision Ngonidzashe Madidi said for the purposes of sustainability, they were studying the early infant male circumcision (EIMC) to ensure protective effect of male circumcision is sustained.

Madidi said they wanted EIMC to run parallel with the adult Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programme.

"Currently, EIMC is in a study phase and we are happy to say we managed to circumcise at least 560 babies successfully," Madidi said.

"The first training to do implementation was done in December 2012 and that saw at least 50 babies being successfully circumcised by doctors."

Madidi said there was also a programme to train midwives to be able to circumcise infants as they were the first to make contact with babies.

The programme has so far been introduced at Edith Operman and Mabvuku clinics in Harare.
"The programme by the midwives saw them successfully circumcising 331 infants using the AccuCirc device," Madidi said.

Madidi said they planned to scale up the programme after the pilot phrase and would be guided by the ministry in implementing it.

He said EIMC protected the infant from future infections such as HIV and bladder infections by 98% and 82% respectively.
[There is no evidence that infant circumcision has any effect on HIV transmission. These figures have been pulled out of the air.]

The World Health Organisation recommends neo-natal circumcision should be a component of prevention campaigns since it is less complicated than circumcision performed in young boys, adolescents or adults. [But it isn't. Any tiny mistake on a baby is magnified on the man he becomes. Genitally cutting a baby is ethically a very different matter from doing it to an adult volunteer.]

SOUTH AFRICA: Hitman shot bride for circumcision fee

Daily Star (London)
April 13, 2014

Anni Dewani trial: Gunman 'needed the cash for tribal circumcision'

A GUNMAN shot dead Anni Dewani to pay for his ritual circumcision, it was claimed last night.
by Shekhar Bhatia
Her family say Xolile Mngeni was “ashamed” to have turned 25 without having the operation in line with tribal tradition.

Zulu boys are circumcised by the age of 18 and put through a gruelling regime as a right of passage.
But drug dealer Mngeni lived with his elderly grandmother and became stressed when friends discovered he had failed “to become a real man”.

The murder plot was suggested to him by taxi driver Zola Tongo.

Mngeni agreed because his share of the £1,400 hit fee would help pay for the circumcision and a three-month “initiation school” in the mountains.

Last night Anni’s uncle Ashok said: “We have been informed of Mngeni’s reasons for shooting her and it has made us as a family even more angry.

“I have since read about the Zulu tribal initiation ceremony and it is meant to make men out of boys.
“But Mngeni has a sick view of it all. He shot a defenceless young ­woman on her honeymoon and planned to use his blood money to make himself appear as a man.

“He is not a man. He is an evil human being or even an animal and I hope he rots for the rest of his life in jail.

“Any such circumcision could not cost that much in South Africa and it is shocking to think he killed somebody for those reasons.”

Zulu initiation ceremonies generally see young men forced into seclusion in the bush or mountains for around three months ­before undergoing circumcision and painting their skin with white clay. [This seems to be a description of Xhosa ceremonies. Zulu circumcision only goes back to 2009. It had been stopped by Shaka Zulu (1787–1828).]

Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder and jailed for life. He was also convicted of aggravated ­robbery and illegal ­possession of a firearm.

Tongo was jailed for 18 years and Mziwamadoda Qwabe got 25 years for the murder. All three men implicated ­Anni’s husband as having ordered her murder.

Millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani, 34, of Bristol, was extradited to South Africa last week and charged with his wife’s murder after a three-and-a-half year battle to remain in Britain.

Dewani is accused of ordering the hit on his new wife Anni, 28, who was shot in Tongo’s taxi in November 2010.

Monday, April 14, 2014

EUROPE: Council of Ministers support underage circumcision

The Jerusalem Post
April 14, 2014

European committee of ministers backs circumcision

Decision elicits praise for repudiating PACE resolution equating the Jewish practice to mutilation.
by Sam Sokol
The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on March 19 repudiated an anti-circumcision resolution adopted last October by the body’s Parliamentary Committee (PACE), eliciting praise from European Jews on Thursday night, when they were informed of the decision.

The PACE resolution termed circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children” and suggested that member states ban the practice until children are “old enough to be consulted.” [Why the scare quotes? How is infant genital cutting not a violation of physical integrity, and what is scorn-worthy about waiting for informed consent?] PACE further urged member states to “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards.”

The resolution angered European Muslim and Jewish communities, as well as Israel and Turkey, all of which complained of religious coercion and intolerance.

Language in the PACE document that seemed to compare circumcision to female genital mutilation particularly angered Jewish groups, with the president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece calling it “a sign of anti-Semitism.”

The Committee of Ministers response panned the comparison between female genital mutilation and circumcision, calling the practices “by no means comparable.”

Female genital mutilation, the committee stated, “can in no way be put on an equal footing with practices such as the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons.”

The committee further stated that “for the present, further standard-setting work is not required” on issues relating to circumcision.

“Protection for children against the risks of non-medically justified operations and interventions is provided by existing international instruments, which address, inter alia, the participation of children in decisions concerning their welfare, and the role of their parents,” it explained. [And how much participation does a week-old child get in the "decision"?]

Earlier story