While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics, to say nothing of the U.S. government, dithers over whether to do the obvious -- embrace universal circumcision of all males -- African nations are showing western nations exactly the way to do it.
The latest news comes out of Kenya, which hopes to achieve 100% foreskin-free country by 2013. Under a news article just issued by IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Kenyan government is doing exactly what the United States government ought to do.
The article is headlined: "The Million Man Cut." And that, of course, expresses the goal -- to circumcise one million uncircumcised males by 2013. According to this article, the circumcision rate in Kenya is good -- around 85%. But it's not high enough to provide the societal protection that circumcision gives. At least 1.2 million foreskins are still amongst them, foreskins that serve as portals for HIV, STDs, HPV, herpes, and other preventable diseases.
Here are excerpts from the news article. Don't you think it's time for the USA to learn the lesson from Africa?
"KISUMU, 17 November 2009 (PlusNews) - The Kenyan government is expanding services to meet the growing demand for voluntary medical male circumcision after the launch of a national campaign a year ago.
"We believe the launch of a rapid results initiative to scale up what we are already offering will help meet the demand; our target is an ambitious one to see to it that at least 1.1 million of the uncircumcised men in this country get the cut by the end of five years," said Jackson Kioko, director of medical services in western Nyanza Province.
Results of three random trials in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda in 2005 and 2006 demonstrated that medical male circumcision reduced the risk of HIV infection among men by up to 60 percent. According to the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey 2007, 85 percent of Kenyan men are circumcised; HIV prevalence is higher by three-to-five times in uncircumcised men.
There are about 1.2 million uncircumcised men between the ages of 15 and 49 in Kenya, most of whom live in Nyanza Province, where fewer than 50 percent of men are circumcised. Since the launch of the national campaign in November 2008, an estimated 40,000 men have been circumcised and 124 sites opened and equipped with facilities and personnel to offer the service. The government has trained 700 health workers in the province to offer the services in various health facilities. "The trained health workers will ensure people who demand these services get them in a safe and timely manner and the training of others is ongoing across the various provinces within the country," Kioko added.
The government also plans to roll out mobile medical circumcision. "We do not want people to opt out simply because the services are not near them and we are making arrangements that we go to them rather than them coming to us," Kioko said. "We will, in the near future, offer infant medical circumcision; this has the potential to help people in time before their sexual debut."