SUICIDE CASES SPIKE IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2023, MEN MOST AFFECTED
COVID-19 DERAILS VMMC TARGETS
By Ian Soko
The Department of HIV, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Viral Hepatitis Program says it missed its third quarter target to conduct more than 10,000 voluntary male medical circumcisions—VMMC in 4 districts with high HIV burden.
Using funding from Global Fund, government is implementing the VMMC in 4 districts of Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi and Zomba.
Between July and September this year, health authorities only managed to administer 1070 circumcisions against the target of 10,750.
The director in the department Rose Nyirenda said provision of circumcision services failed to bare results due to impact of COVID-19 which restricted outreach programs.
Addressing a media workshop on Global Fund and Gavi grants held in Salima district on Tuesday, Nyirenda mentioned that government is now exhausting other channels to shore up uptake like beefing up demand through mass engagement of spheres where males often meet.
According to Nyirenda, the Ministry of Health is now decentralizing VMMC to health centers and task shifted to medical assistants and nurse technicians.
Nyirenda added that since January more than 30 thousand males have had VMMC in the 4 catchment areas.
Global Fund has given Malawi a grant of Four $413 Million, $795,311 to go towards Malaria, TB and HIV programs.
Since 2013, Malawi has received grants from the Global Fund totaling $2.1 Billion.
Currently, government is also conducting VMMC in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mulanje and Chikwawa districts, which also considered HIV burden, with financial assistance from US run President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The 15-49 age band is allowed to undertake VMMC services.