Safe Male Circumcision Service Providers Turn to Schools for Clients

1088 Views Kalisizo, Uganda

In short
Alex Ssemogerere, the chairperson of National Teachers Union in Kyotera district confirms some schools heads in the area have become so restrictive to the program implementers for fear of clashing with parents.

 Implementers of the Safe Male Circumcision-SMC program in Masaka sub region have resorted to schools for clients.  In 2007, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Program of AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended male circumcision to be part of the accepted comprehensive HIV prevention package following studies showing that it could reduce the risk of contracting  HIV by about 60 percent.
 
The program targets males above ten years of age. However, reports in Masaka indicate that implementers are going for underage pupils in primary schools. Charles Ssenfuka, the head teacher Luvule primary schools who doubles as the chairperson Masaka Primary Schools Head Teachers Association-MAPSHEDA, says the program implementers are now targeting uncircumcised learners in schools.



 
He says some implementers have made it a habit to bribe teachers to spot and give them learners without the consent of head teachers or parents, something that has sparked conflicts between parents and schools.

 
The National SMC policy of 2010 sets out standard operating procedures that require the program implementers to respect human rights including ensuring informed consent on clients and parental consent in case of minors. 



Ssenfuka argues that because some services providers act in secrecy they tend to carry out the surgeries in a hurry and fail to make the required follow-ups on clients.
 
  
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Luganda Audio

//Cue in: "bano aba circumcision….
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Hellen Kulabako, a teacher at St Vincent primary in Mukungwe Sub County observes that despite the health benefits of circumcision many communities are still ignorant about the program and have misconceptions.
 
 
She on the other hand expresses concern about the uncoordinated messages by different service providers, saying they are confusing.
 

"For instance we have so far received three groups coming on separate intervals but what surprised us is that they contradict each other on the number of days a person takes to heal, which scared even the would be willing clients," she says.
 
Alex Ssemogerere, the chairperson of National Teachers Union in Kyotera district confirms some schools heads in the area have become so restrictive to the program implementers for fear of clashing with parents.
 
 

Jackie Mackina, the communications manager Rakai Health Science Project; the key SMC service providers in Masaka sub region says their teams will study the problem and provide their findings soon. Records at the Uganda Aids Commission indicate a decline in the uptake of SMC services.