By Ronald Musoke
The US Ambassador, Scott DeLisi will officially launch the Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) programme at Makerere University Hospital on Dec.11.
The service has been made possible by the Makerere University Joint AIDS Programme (MJAP) with technical assistance from the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and support from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The Safe Male Circumcision programme in Uganda was launched in September 2010 and is targeting 80% of uncircumcised men – about 4.2 million men – by 2015.
According to the Uganda Aids Commission’s (UAC) annual performance review of the national HIV and Aids strategic plan (2011-12), 380,000 men were circumcised by March 2012 under the programme.
Just over one-quarter of Ugandan men are circumcised, but PEPFAR and UNAids together project that circumcising 4.2 million Ugandan men could halve the country’s HIV incidence.
The Uganda government says it hopes to circumcise one million men each year for the next three years but the programme has encountered scaling-up challenges and at times stiff opposition from influential politicians such as President Museveni.
Civil society activists say there is a need for the country’s political leaders to unify their message on male circumcision, otherwise they risk confusing the public about the government’s position.