Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

Lack of information and fear associated with undergoing Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) has been said to be the main cause of increased cases of perianal cancer amongst men and a low turnout when it comes to the procedure.

The revelation came to light on Friday in Mzuzu during a media science café which was held under the theme ‘Saving men’s lives; counting the impact of voluntary male medical circumcision in Malawi.’

The program, which was organised by Centre for Investigative Journalism (CijM) in association with Journalists Association Against Aids (journaids), was aimed at equipping journalists with knowledge on VMMC in order to strengthen media coverage on the issue.

VMMC Coordinator at Mzuzu Central Hospital, Alex Khombedza said most men fear losing their erection and becoming infertile after getting the procedure, which he noted comes due to lack of information on what the procedure entails.

“Male Circumcision does not result into infertility but that in the first few months after the procedure, a man might lose the feeling of erection which doesn’t happen to every person.

“Perianal cancer is becoming a serious condition bearing that at Mzuzu Central Hospital, we have a lot of male patients who have come from different district hospitals within the northern region and many of them are awaiting to undergo an operation,” said Khombedza.

Khombedza said VMMC helps to reduce the risk of perianal cancer in men and cervical cancer in women in that the foreskin of the male organ which harbours the human papillomavirus responsible for the diseases is removed.

He said Mzuzu Central Hospital receives approximately 30 men on a monthly basis who come to seek VMMC services.

In his remarks, Bryan Mkandawire who represented One Community, an organisation focused on reducing the vulnerability of people impacted by HIV, said it’s crucial for civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media to dwell more on educating people concerning VMMC.

“As CSOs and the media, we need to look at the misconceptions that are there regarding VMMC so that people understand and are able to make good medical choices. Circumcision on its own doesn’t mean 100 percent prevention against HIV but that chances of it are reduced,” said Mkandawire.

In her remarks, Sarah Saulos from Voice of Livingstonia Radio said through health programs, it has been discovered that most men in the north hesitate to undergo the procedure as they believe it is linked to a certain tribe or religion.

“Most men hesitate to undergo the procedure as they think they will be going out of their culture or belief. It’s important for the media to be more equipped so that such awareness messages on the importance of VMMC are uplifted,” she said.

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