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EC Department of Health denies banning voluntary medical male circumcision

Apr 29, 2019
EC Department of Health denies banning voluntary medical male circumcision

Eastern Cape Department of Health also denied investigating non-governmental organisation, TB HIV Care Association

Bhisho - The Eastern Cape Department of Health says it has not abandoned or banned the voluntary medical male circumcision programme and has not launched any investigation against non-governmental organisation, TB HIV Care Association.

"The Eastern Cape Department of Health (ECDoH) appreciates the need to implement voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as an HIV prevention strategy as outlined in the National Strategic Plan for HIV, STIs and TB," described Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha.

He added that South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV of any country in the world and providing access to HIV prevention interventions such as VMMC is therefore critical to the public health of the country.

"The provincial department is also conscious of the cultural sensitivity of male initiation practices and has therefore reached an agreement with NGO partners in February 2019 that voluntary medical male circumcision will only be offered within public facilities, and that demand creation activities will not take place in communities with a history of traditional male circumcision practices."

Eastern Cape Department of Health will continue to make medical circumcision available

Sicwetsha said that the department also recognises that some communities in the province prefer medical circumcision than traditional circumcision, "as such, the department will not deny any interested individual access to medical male circumcision, which would be an infringement of the right to health".

"The circumcision programme is voluntary and is done with consent of parents for minor boys," he added.

"The misrepresentation of these facts in the public domain can cause immeasurable harm to the national health programme and government efforts to reduce HIV, sexually transmitted infections."

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