The following is a post from Center for Global Health Policy Officer Carol Bergman, who recently traveled to Kenya with a group of Capitol Hill staff from key Congressional offices with jurisdiction over global health funding or programs.
While in Kisumu, our delegation met with Emma Llewellyn and Dr. June Odoyo with the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society at the Lumumba Health Center. We had the opportunity to hear in detail just how they managed to develop a program to successfully circumcise 36,000 men in 30 days!
This is the so-called “Rapid Results Initiative.” They spent months working with community and tribal leaders in Nyanza Province to build community support for an extensive Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) Campaign over the school holidays, and by offering moonlight services in the beach area – and it worked. This was an extensive grassroots campaign that built upon relationships in the community. It helped that the Prime Minister, from a non-circumcising tribe, was willing to be a leader.
They have been able to develop incentives to attract young men under 19. It has been much more difficult to engage older men in this area of the country. In Nairobi, 95 percent of the men presenting for MMC are over 19.
There are now 50-60 sites in Kenya that provide services for MMC—most of which are funded by the CDC.
The Lumumba Health Center is one of three sites (Uganda & South Africa are the others) piloting infant circumcision.