By Irene Nabusoba and Halima Shaban
KAYUNGA on Thursday became the first district to launch mass male circumcision aimed at reducing the spread of HIV. Doctors said the exercise would expand to the rest of the country.
Dr Ahmad Matovu, the Kayunga Hospital superintendent, said they had circumcised 320 men since February. â€œWe circumcise an average of 15 males every Thursday,â€ Matovu said. â€œThe youngest so far was a 13-year-old boy, but the average age is 19 years. The older people are not so receptive.â€
To facilitate the drive, the theatre at Kayunga Hospital was renovated with support from the Makerere University Walter Reed Project and the US government. The medical staff also received training.
Research carried out in Rakai and other parts of Africa established that circumcised men are less prone to HIV. Prof. Wabwire Mangeni, who participated in the research, said circumcision would be used in conjunction with advocating abstinence, being faithful and using condoms to fight AIDS.
Dr. Zainab Akol, the head of the National AIDS Control Programme, said the Government was formulating a policy for medical male circumcision. One of the proposals is to introduce mandatory circumcision of boys within 24 hours after birth. She said circumcision is also good for maintaining hygiene in the male genitalia. The health ministry says about 25% of Ugandan men are circumcised.