- The Male Circumcision Partnership has launched a massive scale-up of voluntary male circumcision services in Swaziland and Zambia, in a significant move from research on male circumcision to full-scale implementation.
The partnership which is supported by a five-year, $50 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Population Services International (PSI)., will see the partners stride across the two Southern African countries to deliver services to an estimated 650,000 men.
The Male Circumcision Partnership programme in Swaziland and Zambia also builds upon the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supported medical male circumcision activities in each country.
Cited by both the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS as an "important intervention," male circumcision reduces HIV infections among men by 60 percent, according to scientific research and is said to be more effective than any vaccine currently in development..
"Safe male circumcision in combination with other prevention programmes has a critical role to play in the global effort to fight HIV/AIDS," said Regina Rabinovich, Director of Infectious Disease Development in the Gates Foundation Global Health Programme, adding, "Studies confirm that safe, voluntary male circumcision has been shown to reduce HIV transmission rates and help save lives."
In order to ensure quality scale-up and to meet the current demand for voluntary male circumcision, the Partnership is establishing a network of nearly 250 providers across the public, private and NGO sectors to deliver quality male circumcision services. This collaboration with the Swaziland and Zambia governments supports their national HIV prevention strategies by greatly expanding access to this important prevention intervention.
The Partnership will also launch a series of innovative behavior change communication campaigns focused on post-circumcision issues, such as the need for ongoing safe sex practices and continued condom use.
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