29 March 2012
I cannot believe that in one day I have been tested for HIV and been circumcised – it is just incredible. – young man in his mid-20s (paraphrase)
[Photos: Above - Line of men waiting to be circumcised. First inset - One of the trained nurses preparing supplies. Second inset - A trained doctor with MCHIP's MC technical advisor preparing the theatre. All photos courtesy of Jhpiego.]
The young man had just finished waiting hours for his turn to be circumcised at Mafeteng Hospital, one of the facilities now offering voluntary medical male circumcisions (VMMC) in accordance with the national guidelines and policies of Lesotho. MCHIP has been working closely with the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare (MOHSW) for the past year in order to mutually develop a gradual, facility-based scale up of VMMC services at government and private facilities across the country with the purpose of reducing the incidence of HIV infections among men.
MCHIP’s first “Male Circumcision Under Local Anaesthesia” course was conducted under the leadership of the MOHSW in February in order to build capacity of four teams (4 doctors, 10 nurses, 4 counselors) from two medical facilities (Scott and Mafeteng Hospitals) to safely provide VMMC services to eligible men. Following four days of classroom-based theory and practical demonstrations, the teams went to their respective facilities for six days of clinical practice.
Upon arrival to the hospitals, the teams found an unexpectedly long line of men awaiting the free VMMC service. That first day, the dedicated teams in training refused to stop for lunch and worked late into the evening to ensure that no client was turned away. The following days of clinical practice continued to bring lines of men, so that approximately 250 men were circumcised at the two facilities during the six days of training.
This turnout allowed the four teams the clinical practice necessary to become competent in providing VMMC services. This interest in services also indicates that with demand generation efforts in line with the MOHSW’s communications plans there is the possibility for continued expansion of VMMC services. MCHIP plans to continue to support these facilities and continue working in close association with the MOHSW. With further funding, MCHIP will train additional VMMC teams and scale up VMMC services to facilities across the country.