As part of its on-going efforts to spread messages on Safe Male Circumcision (SMC), African Comprehensive HIVAids Partnerships (ACHAP) recently collaborated with the traffic police in Francistown by mounting road blocks in the city to try and spread SMC message to motorists.
The campaign was implemented as an alternative means for disseminating information about SMC and motivating men who had not yet presented themselves for SMC to go for circumcision.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard in an interview last week, the Director of Communications and Advocacy at ACHAP, Shungu Malikongwa, said that they held a joint three day road block campaign, which began on Monday last week with the traffic police officers in Francistown and added that a significant number of men showed interest in coming for circumcision.
“The response from the motorists was very encouraging. An overwhelming number of men throughout the roadblocks registered for SMC. Some also registered for an SMC camp planned for Francistown from the 13th to the 15th September this year,” she said.
Malikongwa added that the interesting part is that during the campaign, ACHAP received invitations from Security Companies, Sporting and Social Clubs to come and address their workers, members and clients on the importance of SMC. Malikongwa said that due to the encouraging reception they got from the motorists, the Francistown ACHAP Mobilisers and Francistown DHMT (District Health Management Team) will continue to partner with the traffic police in disseminating the message about SMC.
“The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a major challenge facing Botswana, with overall adult HIV Prevalence estimated to be around 25 percent. Male circumcision has proved to reduce HIV transmission up to 60 percent therefore it is very important for males to come forth and circumcise,” she said.
Malikongwa added that although Botswana has put in place a number of HIV multiple prevention measures, such as an effective PMTCT programme, a robust Anti Retro Viral (ARV) treatment programme, and a number of behaviour change communication interventions, HIV transmission is still high and therefore male circumcision becomes an essential component of the HIV prevention efforts in the country.
“This campaign was also geared at clearing the myths surrounding circumcision such as the belief that circumcision is very painful and that it reduces sexual pleasure. People need to take heed of the fact that the critical role of SMC in the prevention of HIV infection needs to be given the importance it deserves given the evidence at hand,” she said.