Minister and MEC join in at circumcision

THREE doctors-turned politicians spent the weekend working in KwaZulu-Natal circumcision camps.

Premier Zweli Mkhize, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo wore their white coats to circumcise initiates.

Mkhize and Dhlomo's first stop was at Amajuba district camp in Newcastle on Friday.

And Motsoaledi also joined on Saturday, spending the day at Gamalakhe College and Vulekani Special School in uMzimkhulu.

Motsoaledi's visit to the provincial circumcision camps was to ensure that the health department's drive to reduce HIV infections among the youth succeeded.

KwaZulu-Natal introduced circumcision camps after King Zwelithini called for the revival of the practice, but involving medical doctors to prevent unnecessary deaths.

Motsoaledi said the nation was proud of the young men who had taken a decision to join in the fight against HIV and Aids.

He said there were 52 districts with high HIV prevalence and the top four comprised three districts in KwaZulu-Natal - UGu, eThekwini and UMgungundlovu - and Gert Sibande in Mpumalanga.

Motsoeledi told the young men in the camps he was proud of their decision to come forward and be messengers of Zwelithini in the fight against HIV and Aids.

He revealed that 70000 babies were born with HIV every year in the country whereas in a country like France only four babies contracted HIV from their mothers.

"When we launched the HIV counselling and testing campaign I committed to do at least 1000 circumcisions and it is befitting that I start here in KwaZulu-Natal where I studied medicine," Motsoeledi said.