Ministry mulls mandatory circumcision

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Deputy Minister of Health Liteboho Kompi
Deputy Minister of Health Liteboho Kompi

Billy Ntaote

HEALTH Deputy Minister Liteboho Kompi this week told the National Assembly that the ministry is mulling mandatory medical circumcision for infants to curb the spread of HIV.

Ms Kompi said this in response to a suggestion by All Basotho Convention (ABC) Bele-Bela constituency legislator Litšoane Litšoane that infants be circumcised as part of efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

“The Health Ministry is considering the introduction of compulsory circumcision for infants,” Ms Kompi said during parliamentary debate on Tuesday.

The debate was aimed at drumming-up legislators’ support for the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) programme the ministry has undertaken in partnership with JHPIEGO and Global Fund.

Ms Kompi said the ministry and its partners had already undertaken a countrywide campaign to promote VMMC in primary, secondary and high schools.

HIV Communications Manager Baroana Phenethi also presented an overview of the efforts the ministry had undertaken to curb HIV/AIDS.

“We are currently working on strengthening the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision programme,” Mr Phenethi said.

“VMMC was initiated after it was discovered that people who underwent the process reduced their risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent. However, that does not mean people should stop using condoms after the procedure,” he said.

Mr Phenethi also informed the legislators that government was employing other measures to eradicate the scourge, such as the Test and Treat Programme to increase the number of infected people on treatment.

“We will embark on the Test and Treat Programme to ensure all infected people are placed on treatment. We are also continuing with the Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission (PMTCT) initiative and provision of free condoms as well as free antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-positive people,” he said.

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