SELEBI-PHIKWE: It has been revealed that the foreskin harbours viruses that can cause cervical cancer, hence sensitisation about the disease must start with men and the health benefits of circumcision.
The District Health Management Team official Otsile Seswae said at the Men’s Health Promotion Dialogue this week that it is imperative for women ensure that their partners circumcise to reduce chances of cervical cancer.
It was also highlighted that cervical cancer was the worst cancer that claimed many lives in 2015, hence men are encouraged to embark on the safe male circumcision.
It was noted that though the foreskin is the main problem, there are still myths surrounding circumcision that Batswana still believe and that some women also have a tendency of discouraging their partners from circumcising.
“Some men say that there is no need for them to circumcise because they are already HIV positive but there are other medical reasons and health benefits associated with circumcision other than preventing chances of HIV/AIDS spread.
Circumcision reduces HIV/AIDS transmission by 60%,” he said. The health officials said by circumcising, women and girl children would be protected from diseases including cervical cancer. The community was also encouraged to utilise the services at Botshabelo and Industrial health facilities to test for cervical cancer and get results immediately. It was also emphasised that early detection allows health officers to ensure proper medical assistance well on time.
For his part Lieutenant Colonel Kabelo Chabanga of the Eastern Military Garrison said it is high time men change their behaviour towards positive health living.
He said government has done tremendous work in putting up all necessary and affordable health services. “The challenge is that despite the availability of services, men continue to drag their feet in utilising them. “Low numbers of men test for HIV and other communicable diseases and a few embark on the safe male circumcision while at the same time they continue to default on treatment,” he said. Chabanga said all these acts by men have the capacity
He appealed to men to make their health a priority. “The country needs the effort of men in order to maintain a high standard of health amongst all, and government alone cannot achieve this,” he said. He noted that another challenge that the country faces with men is the escalating cases of gender-based violence (GBV) where women and girls are victims and cited a high number of murder cases where men are perpetrators.
Selebi-Phikwe has also observed a high number of cases of rape and defilement perpetrated by men. Selebi-Phikwe Police statistics show that there were 62 rape cases and 22 defilement cases reported between April 2017 and March this year.
This is an increase from 54 rape cases and a slight decline from 39 defilement cases registered in the previous year.
Chabanga noted that the fact that women and girls are the victims, put them at the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
He said GBV has the potential to also increase the risk of HIV infections in women and girls and said studies have shown that women who have experienced violence are three times more likely to be infected with HIV than others. Men’s Sector chairperson Superintendent Ishmael Morebodi said there is a serious concern of murder cases in Selebi-Phikwe and said it is regrettable that men do not understand the legal implications of their actions.
He said this calls for a need for men to meet and discuss these issues. He said this would also allow them to have a voice where they feel they are not accorded due attention, citing that some men are assaulted by women while some are raped, but such cases are never reported for fear of being viewed as weaklings.