A female member of parliament in Tanzania has proposed that an inspection be carried out to determine if her male colleagues are circumcised, in order to help reduce the spread of HIV, news site Mwanachi reports (in Kiwashili).
Jackline Ngonyani said in parliament on Thursday that any MPs found not to have undergone the procedure be circumcised.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men getting HIV by approximately 60%.
Ms Ngonyani was backed by MP Joseph Selasini, who said that neighbouring Kenya had introduced a similar proposal and those MPs found to be uncircumcised underwent the practice which involves cutting the penis’ foreskin.
His claim is not true – there was no inspection of MPs in Kenya.
However, in 2008 some top politicians did willingly undertake circumcision as a way of encouraging men from their communities to undergo the procedure.
Tanzania MP Joseph Kasheku opposed Ms Ngonyani’s proposal saying that it was uncouth and invasive.
“Women who are circumcised also spread HIV… so if we are going to check men who are circumcised then we should also inspect female members to see if they have undergone FGM,” he said.
Female genital mutilation, or FGM for short, is the deliberate cutting or removal of a female’s external genitalia.
WHO describes it as “any procedure that injures the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.
FGM can cause physical and mental health problems.