Under the Knife in Tanzania

12 May 2018
VMMC Mobile Tent is in the town of Kataro for a four-week voluntary medical male circumcision campaign.
Tohara Plus (circumsion plus services) is a Boda Boda(drivers motorbike taxi) Campaign targeting men aged 20-29 age group. An out reach campaign is held at the beginning of the traveling medical facility at the beginning of their four-week stay in Town’s like Katoro in the Lake Region of Tanzani. The CDC with Intra Health as the lead is working with local partners to implement the program. 
At the event there was a outreach in which free safety vest were distributed and public dignitary’s attended to get the message out. Then there was a motorcycle parade and soccer game in which the winning team one goats that were slaughtered and divided among participants.

Early in the morning at a busy boda-boda stand as drivers await to collect passengers.

Costantin Symary, 24, is a boda boda driver. (rainbow man)
“This is my third year as a boda boda driver. It’s a really hard job. I am trying to earn enough money for my first child who is due in September. I am really glad to be a father but I fear it’ll be really tough because my profit is 5,000 each day from riding.
I was circumcised in 2010. I did because everyone was doing it, I had no idea it helped prevent HIV. I only have sex with my wife because I am a born again Christian. 
Mini-skirt are really tempting. Its really common for my friends to fall for girls when they see that. I am the only one who probably doesn’t.
For many free rides for sex from the boda boda drivers is common.”

Mussa Kaswalili, 25, bb driver. (Nike just do it grey sweatshirt)
“I attended yesterday’s event and learned about male circumcision, how to avoid HIV and other stuff.
I was already circumcised in Mwanza as another IntraHealth campaign.
I was circumcised before I met my wife, and she likes it that way. 
I heard about this event from a PSA on the radio.”

Said Makora, information officer for Ministry of health.


Group photo of three health workers -
(Small girl) Joyce Pamba nurse
(older community health worker) Oliva Kadehe
Sadock Peter Mathias (clinical officer…looks young)

Three guys who agreed to get photographed going through the process -
(White jacket) Elikana John
(Red shirt) Edward Augustino Mtega
(black sweatshirt) Abel Juma

(photo second to last) Nurse Bahati Ragita

(last photo) Dr. Dorgan Joseph Nkalango

IntraHealth is working in Tanzania, bringing a CDC program that helps promote young men to become circumcised in an effort to bring better health care and prevent the spread of HIV.  
Namuh Media
Photos by Josh Estey

By: Josh Estey

When an email lands in your inbox asking you to shoot a story on mass male circumcision, you don’t say no. Okay, at least I don’t say no.

Being a man, it’s a story that is obviously close to my gender. But it’s also slightly taboo and even a little shocking for us in western countries to casually discuss.  And oddly, I have been covering this story for many years, from Asia to Africa, so I wasn’t going to let this chance slide.

Where female genital mutilation is shocking and horrific, the tradition of male circumcision across the globe is extremely common. As we understand medicine today, it’s also a healthy body modification that reduces the spread of HIV and STDs.

For many men in Africa, circumcision is not at all a common practice. And that’s why Namuh and a team from IntraHealth were contacted.

IntraHealth, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is working across Tanzania to bring boys and men of all ages the free surgical procedure, in an attempt to slow the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Targeting men between 20-29 years, the program is aimed at changing the lives of those most sexually at risk.

Our team traveled across the Lake Region meeting health workers in remote villages and talking with the men and their significant others about their sexual habits and undergoing a surgical procedure.

Imagine meeting a stranger in a rural town in Oklahoma and asking him how many sexual partners he has besides his girlfriend, and why he is thinking of going under the knife. Now ask his girlfriend this question five-minutes later and learn how the surgery has affected their sex life. The candor and honesty were astounding and the stories telling, helping clarify the importance of this program in slowing the spread of disease and ensuring the health of men.

Gaining subjects acceptance, tastefully photographing surgeries, and creating empowering portraits were all part of the project, which was both fascinating and, as a male, always a little cringe worthy.

But it was great to see the health teams hard at work helping to change the lives of men who otherwise wouldn’t have this opportunity to improve their health and the health of their families.