Min­istry Mi mulls com­pul­sory com cir­cum­ci­sion circ

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

HEALTH Deputy Min­is­ter Lite­boho Kompi this week told the Na­tional Assem­bly that the min­istry is mulling manda­tory med­i­cal cir­cum­ci­sion for in­fants to curb the spread of HIV.

Ms Kompi said this in re­sponse to a sug­ges­tion by All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) Bele-bela con­stituency leg­is­la­tor Litšoane Litšoane that in­fants be cir­cum­cised as part of ef­forts to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

“The Health Min­istry is con­sid­er­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of com­pul­sory cir­cum­ci­sion for in­fants,” Ms Kompi said dur­ing par­lia­men­tary de­bate on Tues­day.

The de­bate was aimed at drum­ming-up leg­is­la­tors’ sup­port for the Vol­un­tary Male Med­i­cal Cir­cum­ci­sion (VMMC) pro­gramme the min­istry has un­der­taken in part­ner­ship with JHPIEGO and Global Fund.

Ms Kompi said the min­istry and its part­ners had al­ready un­der­taken a coun­trywide cam­paign to pro­mote VMMC in pri­mary, sec­ondary and high schools.

HIV Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager Baroana Phenethi also pre­sented an over­view of the ef­forts the min­istry had un­der­taken to curb HIV/ AIDS.

“We are cur­rently work­ing on strength­en­ing the Vol­un­tary Male Med­i­cal Cir­cum­ci­sion pro­gramme,” Mr Phenethi said.

“VMMC was ini­ti­ated af­ter it was dis­cov­ered that peo­ple who un­der­went the process re­duced their risk of con­tract­ing HIV by 60 per­cent. How­ever, that does not mean peo­ple should stop us­ing con­doms af­ter the pro­ce­dure,” he said.

Mr Phenethi also in­formed the leg­is­la­tors that gov­ern­ment was em­ploy­ing other mea­sures to erad­i­cate the scourge, such as the Test and Treat Pro­gramme to in­crease the num­ber of in­fected peo­ple on treat­ment.

“We will em­bark on the Test and Treat Pro­gramme to en­sure all in­fected peo­ple are placed on treat­ment. We are also con­tin­u­ing with the Preven­tion of Mother-to-child Trans­mis­sion (PMTCT) ini­tia­tive and pro­vi­sion of free con­doms as well as free an­tiretro­vi­ral treat­ment for all Hiv-pos­i­tive peo­ple,” he said.

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