THE recent headlines that circumcision has made are too loud for anyone to ignore.
The media adverts coupled with other forms of campaigns for circumcision have certainly had an impact on the general public.

Critics say circumcision is brutal and robs males of sexual sensation, but many in the medical community point to research that suggests circumcision reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

According to the National Male Circumcision Strategy and Implementation 2010 - 2020 Plan, 2.5 milllion males have been targeted before 2020.

However, what is worrying is that information filtering about circumcision is one that has been received with misconception especially amongst the youths and school pupils in particular.

Recently, the Education Post visited Kafue Boys Secondary School where close to ten pupils registered to get circumcised at a local health centre without the consent of school authorities.

Confirming the development, school headmistress Catherine Mutale expressed disappointment at the decision by personnel at the health centre to enlist the pupils for circumcision without the school authorities' approval.

Mutale learnt about the circumcision campaign at her school through the posters that had been stuck on trees within the school premises and that a parent to one of the pupils had also called the school earlier inquiring on how their child had been circumcised without their approval.

'We found posters promoting circumcision stuck on trees and by the time the deputy head pulled them out ,the pupils had already read the message on the posters and were booked in for circumcision the next day," Mutale said.

The headmistress said she then approached health personnel at Kafue Rural Health Centre over the matter who responded defensively, saying the boys were old enough to make their own decisions.
"By the time we had gone there, five had already been circumcised, and five more were awaiting circumcision," she said.

Mutale complained that the practice had disturbed some pupils because they were absconding classes due to the nature of the
operation.

"Some have been missing class because they are having problems in walking and sitting. Our other concern is on the cleaning of the wounds; we don't know whether the boys are doing the right thing. They are targeting boys because they want to meet the target.

Why are they are targeting pupils in boarding schools?" The headmistress queried.
She also sadly noted that there was a misconception amongst pupils that once circumcised they could have unprotected sex without contracting STI's and HIV.

"These pupils think circumcision is a lee-way to indulge in unprotected sex and now my worry is they may decide to practice this whilst at home during holidays because then the school will have no control over them," Mutale said.

Mutale further appealed to circumcision campaigners to make their campaigns clearer so that the young people can have accurate information and get consent from parents.

And one of the pupils who spoke on condition of anonymity said he went for circumcision because it was advantageous in that it kept one in good hygienic condition and protects one from contracting STI's.

"To be honest, some of the reasons were sexual because as boys, we talk a lot about such issues and some of them say that's when you become a real man. After the exercise, we were told to rest for two days," he explained.

The 17-year-old pupil however revealed that the health personnel at the centre had given them papers where terms of the operation were explained.

And another grade 11 pupil said they did not ask for permission from the school authorities because they would have declined to let them go.

"When we found the stickers in our school premises, we automatically thought the school had known," said the pupil.