Some men in Rumphi are shunning voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), saying it is against their culture and religion.
According to district nutrition and HIV and Aids officer Blessings Kanyangale, Rumphi is failing to meet its VMMC targets.
He said the district planned to circumcise 2 569 men in 2013, but only 914 underwent the procedure.
“Following poor performance, stakeholders demanded a reduction of the target for the 2017/18 financial year to 2 220 men to reflect the reality on the ground,” said Kanyangale.
He reckoned the initial arrangement of reimbursing transport costs of people who went for circumcision also affected the campaign.
“Since clients stopped receiving the refunds, some no longer see the value of being circumcised,” said Kanyangale.
Studies show VMCC reduces chances of HIV infections by 60 percent.
During a recent visit, the district, National Aids Commission (NAC) executive director Davie Kalomba said the trend is not strange because circumcision is a new phenomenon in some cultures.
He said there is need to intensify mass awareness campaigns to create demand and empower community-based organisations to take part.
“The is need for intensive sensitisation to help people understand the importance of getting circumcised. We know it’s not easy in most districts in the North because circumcision is not part of their culture, but we need to make progress,” said Kalomba. n