COVID-19 disrupts years of progress

After 13 years of progress, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) programmes lost ground due to COVID-19-related service disruptions, News24 reports. South Africa, which has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, had achieved almost 60% VMMC coverage among men and boys ages 15 to 49 by 2020. In 2020, however, only 452,000 VMMC procedures were performed in South Africa — just 58% of its annual goal. As VMMC services resumed after a six-month suspension that began in March 2021, the programme faced many challenges, including the need to prioritise those older than 15 and to expand successful partnerships with traditional leaders to incorporate safe medical circumcision into traditional rites of passage (News24, 26 November 2021).