Malawi’s Nkhoma Hospital Launches Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Program

Report by Pius Mtike

Lilongwe District’s Nkhoma Hospital has started offering Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services.

VMMC services began with great enthusiasm: 37 procedures were performed in less than two weeks, according to Dr. Roderick Banda, Medical Officer at Nkhoma Hospital.

“We are encouraged by this overwhelming response,” Banda said.

Malawi comediansThe project has taken a novel approach to recruiting participants by staging a two-week awareness campaign that incorporates comedy, music, and film. The group has engaged the services of popular local comedians Chindime and Samalani and the Health Education Band of the Ministry of Health. VMMC promotional film documentaries will also be shown.

Local leaders are also getting in on the act. Encouraging his subjects following a VMMC promotional documentary, Group Village Headman (GVH) Chimwaye underscored the need to seriously consider VMMC, a one-time intervention scientifically proven to reduce the transmission of HIV by 60 percent.

“Now we have no reason to complain about long distance to town (VMMC Center in old town in Lilongwe),” he said. “VMMC services are within our own vicinity.”

The initiative is in partnership with Lilongwe District Office and Health Education Unit of the Ministry of Health (HEU), and the International Technology and Education Centers for Health (I-TECH) Malawi as part of a PEPFAR subgrant. It is intended to encourage more eligible men to access locally available VMMC services.