UTH Doctor explains the importance of circumcision

Dr. Mulindi Mwanahamuntu

Dr. Mulindi Mwanahamuntu

Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu says long term protection from cervical cancer for women whose husbands are circumcised exceeds 30%, reports Zambian Eye’s Limbikani Msamba. Dr. Mwanahamuntu revealed that there was a move within the HIV strategic plan to offer circumcision services to new born babies.

Speaking when he featured on Zambian Eye’s interactive live interview dubbed “Hot Seat,” Dr. Mwanahamuntu, who has worked in the UTH Obstetrics and Gynaecology department for 23 years, also outlined the various reasons for conducting the procedure and addressed the controversies regarding the quality of life after.

“Circumcision is simply the removal of excess foreskin, all of it or part of it. This is done for a variety of reasons. It could be done to treat conditions that create problems with the penis, such as failure of the foreskin to retract or failure of the retracted foreskin to return, respectively called phimosis and para phimosis,” He said. “Other reasons include evidence of protection from a number of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilitic chancres, warts, balainitis (swelling of the actual penis glans) or balanoposthitis where the swelling of glands include the very fore skin.”

He also included what he termed as “weak” reasons, such as hygiene and tradition. He proceeded to highlight the reasons why uncircumcised men are more likely to acquire HIV than their circumcised peers.

“There are a number of reasons why HIV is more likely to be acquired by uncircumcised men, some that have been researched conclude that:

1. The inner parts of the foreskin is not keratinized (hardened) and therefore prone to micro injuries during sex,

2. The inner foreskin habor more receptor or target cell for HIV virus,

3. It is independently established that uncircumcised men have a higher incident of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilitic sores, herpes, chancroid,warts, balanitis, balanoposthitis, etcetera which in their own right create HIV entry points,

4. The environment between the foreskin and glands of the penis favors longer viral survival.”

And responding to s query from a member who wanted to know whether it was true that circumcision in males protected their female partners from acquiring HIV and Cervical Cancer; Dr Mwanahamuntu said, “A circumcised man will still pass the HIV without hindrance, however, protection from cervical cancer is a fact noted in the last 70 years, even when it was not yet known exactly why wives of circumsized men had less cancer of the cervix.

Since 1970, we now know that it because the foreskin carries too much papilloma virus that causes cancer.”

He also allayed fears that the procedure reduces sexual sensitivity in males. “Reduced sensitivity as cause of male sexual thrill is neither here nor there. The foreskin has only sensation of pain, heat or cold or touch.

To suggest that these are the only requirements in sex is to also suggest that if men sat close to a fire, they will have an erection and an ejaculation. Yet sex is an action that involves many organs, largest of which is the brain. In between there are many connections such the connectivity of male breast stimulation to erection and even ejaculation.”

Dr. Mwanahamuntu signed off by outlining the demerits associated with circumcision.

“Like all surgical procedures, and usually in poor hands injury, to the penis proper may occur, sepsis (massive infection) may occur, secondary loss of blood, etc. But all these are minor. Pain and abstinence mandated by such an operation is also a key social disadvantage.”

The programme that started at 9pm Zambian time and run upto 11pm was moderated by Owen Miyanza, Thom Shonga, Tima Savarino and Greenwell Nyirenda