23 May 2012
At a public rally to commemorate Tanzania’s 48th anniversary, Nzega District Commissioner Florence Horombe called on men and adolescent boys in the district to participate in and benefit from the on-going free voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) campaign for HIV prevention.
The campaign, which aimed to reach 5,000 adolescents and men in Tabora in three weeks, greatly surpassed this goal—with more than 7,800 clients receiving VMMC.
“Come one, come many, you will all receive care from our experienced and hardworking health providers. I am told at Ndala Hospital the providers are attending up to 130 clients per day,” said Commissioner Horombe. “Young men, older men, I urge to you come forward and take advantage of the free HIV prevention services, which are being provided by the government with support from the American people and the nongovernmental organization Jhpiego.”
VMMC services are being provided at the Nzega District Hospital and Ndala Hospital, which is 20 kilometers from the villages around the Mwanzunya area. The free program is supported by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through MCHIP.
During the celebration, MCHIP’s Community Mobilization Officer, Caesar Msamba, led an interactive session with the crowd and informed them that VMMC reduces men’s risk of acquiring HIV by 60% and should be used along with other HIV prevention methods. He also mentioned other potential benefits, including increased cleanliness, a decreased likelihood of contracting some sexually transmitted infections and reduced risk of penile cancer in men and cervical cancer among female partners of circumcised men.
“Many people in this area, including myself, are not circumcised and did not see the need or the importance to do this. I personally did not know that it is helpful in the prevention of HIV,” said Nyorobi Kabinhi, a 46-year old from Ikonze Village.
“The information I heard here today from the campaign mobilizer and the brochure has opened my eyes and highly motivated me. I will go to Ndala Hospital soon [to be circumcised] before the campaign ends.”
The Union Day celebration is held every year on the 26th of April to mark the day Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined together to form a new country—The United Republic of Tanzania. Official celebrations for Nzega District were held in Puge Ward/Mwanzunya village, about 30 kilometres south of Nzega town. The colorful event featured traditional dancers (the Baswezi), the laying of a foundation stone for a primary school building, vitamin A drops to infants, updates on health and development programs in the district, and the hallmark—the Union Day speech.