Earlier this week Christine Ondoa, Uganda Minister of Health, called on all leaders – political and traditional leaders, religious and community leaders, youth and women leaders, professional and business leaders – to support VMMC. (text link here)
Five years ago UNAIDS and WHO recommended VMMC scale-up in countries with low male circumcision coverage and high HIV prevalence. Emmanuel Njeuhmeli et al published a paper in November 2011 which showed the need to perform more than 20m circumcisions across 14 countries in eastern and southern Africa to reach a male circumcised prevalence rate of 80% by the end of 2015. They estimated that doing so would cost about $2b but could save more than $16b in treatment and care costs by preventing more than 3.36m new HIV infections.
However since then progress has been very slow. A report issued last month by AVAC shows, as of March 2012, just 1.5m VMMCs have been completed, less than 8% of the 20m target. Uganda has completed 204,000 of its 4.2m target which, whilst reflecting slow progress, may already be contributing to averting more than 10,000 new infections. (PDF Summary here)
There is a need for all implementers to scale-up their operations and, as one potential solution, there is growing interest in the use of innovative non-surgical devices.
- 1 in 13 Ugandans are HIV+ and Reactions to my SMC Post (suubitrust.org.uk)
- Male Circumcision Programme in Tanzania reaches 100,000 (suubitrust.org.uk)