By Lucas Ng’asike
National Aids and STI Control Programme (Nascop) is using monetary incentives to entice more men in Turkana County to undergo circumcision.
Nascop, together with Nyanza Health Reproductive Society (NHRS), changed strategy after the number of people getting circumcised dwindled.
The approach is aimed at encouraging men to go for Voluntarily Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in local health facilities.
Dr Nicholas Muraguri, the Director of Nascop, said the incentive will ensure VMMC succeeds.
"We really want this programme to succeed. That is why we are giving locals, who visit health facilities for the cut, incentives," Muraguri said.
He said the rates of HIV infection in the area were alarming.
Muraguri noted that VMMC approach could reduce HIV infection rates by up to 60 per cent.
Through the programme, anyone taking a person to the facility for the cut will be given Sh100.
"This approach will help us to achieve our targets. The more you bring clients to the health facility for the cut, the more money you get," Muraguri told a sensitisation forum in Lodwar.
He said cultural aspects had challenged the VMMC project in Turkana since men do not get circumcised.
"We are educating the community the health benefits of male cut in the prevention of HIV to encourage men to get circumcised," said Muraguri..
Since the programme was rolled out in March this year, less than 3,000 men have been circumcised in the area.
The director said they were targeting 175,000 men at the end of the five-year programme.
He noted the programme was not well co-ordinated in the area due to misinformation.
The director of NHRS Emma Llewellyn said they have resolved misunderstandings between health workers and the community.
Ms Llewellyn said they suspended the local programme co-ordinator over alleged financial misappropriation. "We are investigating the case to determine his reinstatement," she added.
Llewellyn said they will work with unemployed health professionals in the area to reinvigorate the programme.
The VMMC forum was held at Lodwar Catholic Diocese at Saint Ann’s Nanjala.
It was attended by health practitioners, civil societies officials and members of the provincial administration.