By Lino Limbithu and Elias Banda
Mangamba Health Centre in Machinga has achieved a clinical male circumcision breakthrough after registering 182 referred cases, defying the traditionally operated circumcision by herbalists known as angaliba in local language. In 2012, the centre registered 134 cases and according to Aubrey Kambalame, Clinical Officer at the health centre, the rise in the figures was attributed to the intensified campaign on clinical circumcision campaign conducted in the area. Mr kambalame hinted in an interview that last year three boys were referred to the clinic while unconscious due to excessive bleeding after a botched circumcision operation at one of the traditional initiation ceremony camps. Kambalame said the situation triggered a spate of fear in the community as it was reported that apart from their lack of knowledge on clinical procedure, the ngalibas used old and blunt knives when cutting foreskins and the boys were not given any pain killers after the operation and they were left to endure the pain without proper care.
ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social change Program collaborated with chiefs and health workers in the area and launched a campaign against traditional circumcision. ADRA Malawi also facilitated a series of community dialogue sessions involving all sections of the society to find a lasting solution on the matter and community members resolved to take their children to the clinic for a safer and clinically administered circumcision.
|The Ngaliba and the boys captured at the Ndagala last year.|
A radio program facilitated by ADRA Malawi called Nzatonse was recorded at Mgundiwa where community members condemned the practice and called on chiefs to take drastic measures on the matter. When the program was aired on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) last year in September, it attracted a wider condemnation as callers participating in the program wondered why people in Machinga highly valued culture than education.
Nevertheless, a spot check in the primary schools around Mangamba Health Centre conducted by ADRA Malawi in September this year revealed that all boys within the initiation age were in school, signifying a tremendous change in the community perception towards value for education.
The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Machinga, Mulanje, Lilongwe and Mzimba.