Programme science research on medical male circumcision scale-up in sub-Saharan Africa

Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Sexually transmitted infections (Impact Factor: 3.08). 05/2013; 89(5). DOI: 10.1136/sextrans-2012-050595
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Three randomised trials demonstrate that voluntary medical male circumcision (MMC) reduces male HIV acquisition by 50-60%, and post-trial surveillance has shown that the effects are long lasting. Scale-up of services has been initiated in 14 high-priority sub-Saharan African countries with high rates of HIV and low prevalence of MMC. However, circumcision coverage in the region remains low. Challenges to MMC rollout include suboptimal demand among higher-risk men, the need to expand access and reduce costs of MMC through personnel task shifting and task sharing, assuring and maintaining a high quality of service provision, and the testing and introduction of non-surgical devices. In addition, early infant male circumcision has not been adequately evaluated in Africa. Here, we describe challenges to implementation and discuss the ongoing and future role of implementation and programme science in addressing such challenges.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Uptake of VMMC among adult men has been lower than desired in Nyanza, Kenya. Previous research has identified several barriers to uptake but qualitative exploration of barriers is limited and evidence-informed interventions have not been fully developed. This study was conducted in 2012 to 1) increase understanding of barriers to VMMC and 2) to inform VMMC rollout through the identification of evidence-informed interventions among adult men at high risk of HIV in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Methods: Focus groups (n=8) and interviews were conducted with circumcised (n=8) and uncircumcised men (n=14) from the two districts in Nyanza, Kenya. Additional interviews were conducted with female partners (n=20), health providers (n=12), community leaders (n=12) and employers (n=12). Interview and focus group guides included questions about individual, interpersonal and societal barriers to VMMC uptake and ways to overcome them. Inductive thematic coding and analysis were conducted through a standard iterative process. Results: Two primary concerns with VMMC emerged 1) financial issues including missing work, losing income during the procedure and healing and family survival during the recovery period and 2) fear of pain during and after the procedure. Key interventions to address financial concerns included: a food or cash transfer, education on saving and employer-based benefits. Interventions to address concerns about pain included refining the content of demand creation and counseling messages about pain and improving the ways these messages are delivered. Conclusions: Men need accurate and detailed information on what to expect during and after VMMC regarding both pain and time away from work. This information should be incorporated into demand creation activities for men considering circumcision. Media content should frankly and correctly address these concerns. Study findings support scale up and/or further improvement of these ongoing educational programs and specifically targeting the demand creation period.
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    ABSTRACT: As an HIV prevention strategy, the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is underway in 14 countries in Africa. For prevention impact, these countries must perform millions of circumcisions in adolescent and adult men before 2015. Although acceptability of VMMC in the region is well documented and service delivery efforts have proven successful, countries remain behind in meeting circumcision targets. A better understanding of men's VMMC-seeking behaviors and experiences is needed to improve communication and interventions to accelerate uptake. To this end, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 40 clients waiting for surgical circumcision at clinics in Zambia. Based on Stages of Change behavioral theory, men were asked to recount how they learned about adult circumcision, why they decided it was right for them, what they feared most, how they overcame their fears, and the steps they took to make it to the clinic that day. Thematic analysis across all cases allowed us to identify key behavior change triggers while within-case analysis elucidated variants of one predominant behavior change pattern. Major stages included: awareness and critical belief adjustment, norming pressures and personalization of advantages, a period of fear management and finally VMMC-seeking. Qualitative comparative analysis of ever-married and never-married men revealed important similarities and differences between the two groups. Unprompted, 17 of the men described one to four failed prior attempts to become circumcised. Experienced more frequently by older men, failed VMMC attempts were often due to service-side barriers. Findings highlight intervention opportunities to increase VMMC uptake. Reaching uncircumcised men via close male friends and female sex partners and tailoring messages to stage-specific concerns and needs would help accelerate men's movement through the behavior change process. Expanding service access is also needed to meet current demand. Improving clinic efficiencies and introducing time-saving procedures and advance scheduling options should be considered.
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