You have to admire some of the health ministers and governments in Africa that understand the health value of circumcision -- and, more importantly, are not afraid to set goals aimed at universal male circumcision.
The latest word from Zambia, reported in The Post, is that the country's health minister has embraced circumcision as an important HIV prevention strategy. Moreover, the World Health Organization's representative in Zambia, Dr. Olusegun Babaniyi, has said the country must achieve an 80% circumcision rate in 10 years to maximize the effectiveness of circumcision. The current rate is about 13% circumcised. This would require about 2.5 million males to be circumcised.
Of course, the most effective way to achieve universal circumcision is neonatal circumcision. Circumcising at birth is easier, less complicated, and much less costly. University Teaching Hospital urologist Dr. Kasonde Bowa says his hospital has begun a neonatal circumcision pilot program, but admits they have a long ways to go.
Taking a country that is only 13% circumcised up to 80% circumcised and, preferably, 100% circumcised takes a time and dedication. Countries like Zambia deserve world acclaim -- and our help -- to achieve their goal of a clean foreskin-free environment.
Here in the United States, where perhaps 75% to 85% of males are clean-cut, we need stronger government advocates for circumcision. The anti-circ fanatics are reportedly putting intense political pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics to ignore all the medical studies of recent years. Whether America's doctors cave in to political pressure when the medical evidence is so abundant remains to be seen. But there's no question that those who recognize the health benefits to both men and women of a clean-cut foreskin-free society need to speak up -- now!