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Increasing Male Circumcision in Namibia
Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula opens the doors to an expanded voluntary male circumcision clinic (VMMC), known as the Smart Cut Clinic, at Rundu Intermediate Hospital.
Male circumcision can reduce significantly the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. But the topic is understandably sensitive. In Africa men need both a place to have the procedure and assurances of privacy—both of which can be problematic. “These challenges did not inspire men to seek and obtain this service,” Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula told The Namibian newspaper. To address these concerns, Rundu Intermediate Hospital recently expanded its Smart Cut Clinic to serve more males in Kavango East and West regions. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief funded expansion of the clinic, which will provide counseling as well as surgical procedures. The clinic will be integrated with a primary healthcare clinic and Anti-Retroviral Therapy clinic, facilitating coordination and referrals. Abt Associates provides technical assistance to the clinic through the US Agency for International Development’s Scaling up Access For Expanded Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision project, which also funds the clinic. In 2009, Namibia set a target of circumcising 300,000 men by 2025, and from 2015 through the end of 2020, 235,991 men already had undergone the procedure.