A voluntary male circumcision campaign, dubbed “smart cut,” aiming to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and HIV in Namibia, is helping transform mindsets.
Until the age of 30, Gabes Modestus from coastal town Walvis Bay in Namibia’s Erongo region thought circumcision was unnecessary.
Like many Namibian men, circumcision was not a considerable option for the 30 years old.
His perception changed, when Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services in July 2016 launched the five-year Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision campaign.
The campaign targets to circumcise 20,000 men this year in a quest to reduce HIV by means of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision.
About 215,000 people are living with HIV in Namibia.
It was only after the Ministry started with the campaign when Modestus was encouraged to get circumcised.
“I learned of the benefits of circumcision, hence the decision to get the ‘smart cut’,” he said.
“With the campaign, we managed to address the stereotypical social perceptions towards male circumcision,” said Johannes Haufiku, demand creative manager of the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision campaign.
Featuring a local celebrity to the campaign also yielded great returns, adding that based on the attention brought by the campaign ambassador, renowned Namibian musician Martin Morocky, who in 2016 also got circumcised to lead by example; the campaign is likely to reach its target.
“Involvement of the artist in the campaign has drawn attention. The team on average circumcises more than the targeted two men per hour and we have a long-waiting list,” Haufiku said during the campaign activation in the Erongo region.
Meanwhile, despite proven medical benefits and campaign efforts, some men and traditional beliefs, however, still hold amongst some men.
In the interim, the campaign will over the execution period continue advocating for changed perceptions.
“We will go to hospitals, public spaces and workplaces to reach out to the Namibian men. I also call upon women to convince their men to get the ‘smart cut’,” said Morocky. Enditem