Pretoria: The North West Department of Health has set an ambitious target of circumcising 70 000 men per annum to prevent the ongoing transmission of HIV. North West Health MEC, Dr Magome Masike said the department had set the target following clinical trials done in Uganda, Kenya and in South Africa, which showed consistent results that male circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV.
To reach the target, Dr Masike opened a high volume male medical circumcision clinic at Tshepong Hospital on Monday. The clinic is a partnership between the Peri Natal HIV Research Unit and Provincial Health Department.
Called Gola Monna, meaning “grow Men” in seTswana, the circumcision clinic is capable of doing at least 200 circumcisions per week at each site in Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom.
“By 2016, over four million men should have been circumcised in South Africa. Here in the North West Province we are required to do an additional 70 000 circumcisions per annum to contribute to this target,” Masike said.
He, however, warned that circumcision was only partly protective.
“Men must still condomise and be mutually faithful with their partners. We trust therefore that Gola Monna lives up to its name and ensures that many young boys protect themselves to manhood and contribute to us all eventually living an HIV-free society,” Dr Masike said.
Dr Limakatso Lebina, a founder of the clinic, said the clinic will circumcise men and will ensure that they have lifelong partial protection against HIV.
“Removal of the foreskin clearly can’t stop all HIV infections but it certainly prevents most. We tell all the men that we circumcise, but they must continue to condomise,” said Dr Lebina.
The clinic is gearing to respond to a high winter demand in June and July, when it plans to provide circumcision seven days a week.
Bafana Montweli, who was among the first to be circumcised at the new clinic has encouraged men to step forward and do the same.