Clergy In Bushenyi Oppose Male Circumcision Campaign

The launching of Safe Male Circumcision in Bushenyi district on Wednesday met criticism from the church leaders who say that the practice contravenes their moral stand.


 Religious leaders are saying that the way the medical people have packaged their messages about male circumcision encourages people to practice sexual immorality after circumcising.


Church leaders say the church will continue to preach faithfulness to married couples and to abstinence from premarital sex to avoid getting infected with HIV.


Rev. Can. Nobart Tibikoma, the Archdeacon of All Saints Church in Bushenyi says the church cannot compromise their stand on morality by supporting the safe male circumcision campaign.


Rev. Tibikoma says telling person that circumcision will prevent them from the risk of HIV is very unfortunate and misleading. He adds that the packaging of campaign gives people is “giving people a license” to commit adultery.


The chaplain of Masheruka Girls School, Rev. Ananias Ntereyo said that the approach being used in promoting male circumcision should be changed such that people appreciate it.


Nterero adds that circumcision has been in existence for ages and people have done it for a number of reasons, but putting HIV/AIDS at the fore front of the practice will encourage people to have sex with multiple partners.


Safe Male Circumcision is a new internationally recommended strategy for HIV prevention.


Speaking at the launch of the campaign at Bushenyi district headquarters, the district medical officer Dr. Celestine Barigye, said that religious leaders have a bigger stake in sensitizing people to circumcise.


Barigye said that safe male circumcision reduces the risk of getting infected with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV by 60%. He said that circumcision in Bushenyi district is still very low at only 10%. He however added that people have started to understand the benefits of the practice and are coming to health centers for the service.


Dr. Vincent Kawoya from Makerere School of Public Health said that no one would like to see a loved one contracting HIV. He said that even if there are drugs that can keep HIV patients healthy, it costs the government a lot to sustain the supply of these drugs.


Busheyi’s outgoing district chairman Mr. Longino Ishanga Ndyanabo said that even if male circumcision is voluntary, the government should consider enacting a law such that health centers can circumcise babies at birth like they do with immunization.