Uganda Safe Male Circumcision Communication
In 2007, results from three large randomized clinical trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa were published, showing that medically performed circumcision is safe and can reduce men’s risk of HIV infection by 60%. Based on this evidence, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS recommend medical male circumcision as an essential part of HIV prevention programming.
Between 2007 and 2010, a national task force in Uganda, with assistance from Health Communication Partnership, conducted a public sensitization campaign that focused on educating health workers, leaders, and the media about male circumcision and its relation to HIV prevention.
In 2010, the Uganda Ministry of Health adopted the National Safe Male Circumcision Policy, which recommends voluntary safe male circumcision for all men, and makes it available through the public health system. To educate the public and promote the uptake of SMC services among men 15 years and older, the Ministry of Health, with assistance from Health Communication Partnership, designed and executed a national SMC demand creation campaign entitled “Stand Proud, Get Circumcised”. While the majority of men in Uganda are not circumcised—according to the 2011 UDHS, only 24% of men are circumcised—there are cultural groups that practice traditional circumcision.
In Eastern Uganda, the Bugisu conduct traditional male circumcision as an initiation rite every two years. Traditional circumcision ceremonies involve many practices that increase the circumcision candidate’s risk of acquiring HIV, including the practice of circumcision by untrained circumcisers in unhygienic settings. So, the Ministry of Health, with assistance from HCP and the STAR-E Project, worked with a group of concerned citizens in the Bugisu region to develop a HIV prevention campaign entitled “We are the Pride of our Tribe”.