It's tough promoting male cut in Turkana, Harare

Encouraging male circumcision, said to cut HIV infections by up to 60 per cent, in communities where the practise is taboo is a herculean task. But as National Aids and STI Control Programme has shown creative thinking can provide a way around a difficult situation.

Nascop is giving a monetary incentive to encourage the practice. If you convince someone to go for the cut, Nascop pays you Sh100. Dr Nicholas Muraguri, Nascop director, says this will ensure the campaign succeeds in the area where HIV infection rates have been alarming.

Contrast this with the case of Zimbabwe where Deputy Prime Minister Ms Thokozani Khupe, announced that all male Cabinet ministers will be circumcised to serve as an example to the public, even without consulting them. Predictably this has drawn the ire of some leaders with at least one of them asking her to go for the cut first, never mind it’s male, not female circumcision that cuts HIV infection.

There is no doubt that creativity and persuasion, not dictatorship, will be vital weapons, if the war against HIV is to be won.