Saturday, 1 September 2012

Regional troops to pull out from Central African Republic in 2013 as Botswana circumcises men to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS

Circumcision exercise.Picture Courtes
 Regional troops deployed in the Central African Republic will be withdrawn by the end of 2013, according to the bloc CEEAC.
The pullout was a decision at a meeting of defense ministers from the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) ended on Thursday in the Gabonese capital Libreville.
The meeting discussed two main issues including the Peace Consolidation Mission in the Central African Republic (MICOPAX) and the situation in North Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
The forum was presided over by Chadian Chief of General Staff Abel Yambaye Massyra, who represented the country's defense minister.
Regarding the situation in eastern DR Congo, the ministers agreed to reflect deeper on the issue before adopting a common and effective strategy that will restore lasting peace in North Kivu province.
MICOPAX is a Central African sub-regional military entity in the area of defense and security.
Since July 12, 2008, MICOPAX under the responsibility of CEEAC was deployed in the unstable zones of the Central Africa Republic to protect civilians and ensure the continuation of political dialogue between the government and the opposition and rebel groups. The mission also supports the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.

In Botswana a  senior heath official has said more than 50,000 men in Botswana have been circumcised since 2011 for reducing chances of getting infected by HIV/AIDS.
According to local media on Friday, the National Coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Conrad Ntswape, said that despite the progress being made, quite a lot of men across the country are reluctant to circumcise, citing the pain and the length of time it takes to heal.
He said the most affected categories are men in the construction and sports industries, who have expressed fears of losing their jobs while taking four to six weeks to heal.
Ntswape revealed the government is preparing to use a new method of circumcision in an effort to increase the number of men taking part, but he did not give the details of the new method.
Ntswapehe said the government has decided to take the initiative to schools. Infants are also encouraged to be circumcised to reduce their chances of getting infected by HIV/ AIDS.
Botswana is experiencing one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. The country has an estimated adult HIV prevalence among 15 to 49 year-old of 24.8 percent, the second highest in the world after Swaziland.
The Botswanan government invests heavily every year in the fight against the epidemic. In 2008, approximately 340 million U.S. dollars were spent on Botswana's HIV/AIDS response. The Botswanan government provided 66 percent of funding for HIV/AIDS programs that year, a substantially greater share than other sub-Saharan African countries who rely mainly on foreign donors.
There are a number of different types of HIV prevention programs taking place in Botswana, including public education and awareness, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), condom distribution and education, etc.
Botswana was the first country in Africa to have a national policy of routinely offering an HIV test at clinics, and it also provides antiretroviral therapy to citizens in need.(Xinhua)

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