Friday, May 8, 2009

Taking Lessons from Botswana on Universal Circumcision

The United States government should take a page or two out of Botswana's commitment to universal circumcision. It's downright embarrassing that we send millions of dollars overseas to circumcise Africans but can't get our act together here at home. Maybe one of these days we can follow Botswana's lead. See story below.

Botswana plans to circumcise nearly half a million

GABORONE (AFP) — Botswana, which has one of the world's highest HIV infection rates, has launched a scheme to circumcise nearly half a million men to curb the spread the disease, the health ministry said Thursday.

The country hopes to circumcise 460,000 men over the next five years, after a series of studies found that circumcised men were two to three times less likely to contract HIV, said Janet Mwambona, a public health specialist in charge of the project.

"For the public health benefits of the preventive effect of circumcision to be realised, the Ministry of Health is supposed to cover 80 percent of eligible males in Botswana," she said.
Government is running television and radio campaigns to encourage men to visit clinics for safe circumcision procedures.

"All primary and district hospitals are currently booking clients and performing the procedure," added Mwambona.

About 50 healthcare providers, including 27 doctors have undergone training on surgical circumcision.

The rapid spread of HIV and AIDS once threatened the survival of the approximately two million people of the land-locked southern African country, until the introduction of antiretroviral drugs in 2003.

According to a 2005 UNAIDS report, Botswana's HIV prevalence among pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 24 has stayed between 35 and 37 percent since 2001.
The rate among the older pregnant women was last measured at 43 percent in 2003.


  1. Let's see if the TV show The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency will make mention of this - should be fun!

  2. According to new infomration and statistics in Dr. Schoen's works, a very active pro-circumcision proponent and famous MD, the circumcision rate in the USA today is very close to 90%. I had always said it was somewhere between 85% and 89%. Intactivists would like to have us believe it is much lower, but again their information is sooo last century. Bill5-Inter-Circ

  3. True,money well spent. im cut from uk where most seem to be uncut. Shame more are not..... cos a good circumision scar and bare head looks so much sexier (as well as cleaner:) It should be routinely done to boys here before puberty!

  4. At 20 minutes each, and 50 40-hour weeks a year, that's SEVENTY-SEVEN YEARS of doctors' skilled time just cutting off foreskins. That's an awful lot of lives could be saved doing real medicine instead, in a desperately poor country where many lives can be be saved with relatively simple medicine. If the African studies are correct (and there's plenty of room for doubt there), it will take about 50 circumcisions to prevent one HIV transmission, that could be more certainly be prevented with ABC.

  5. Account of female MD who had to perform multiple circumcisions on male patients on short notice. Some of the comments are very disrespectful of the lady doctor. She noted support for her actions on the part of hospital nursing staff. Yes, there is screaming and bleeding. No, they won't remember it. Yes, it is for their benefit and that of their future partners. No, males are not entitled to have any choice or be able to say "no." Best moment to activate prevention is ASAP. In this case, it's "circumcise all males at birth."