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 Wednesday 16 June 2010
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Lazzar Phiri,* "It's a thing that we needed to discuss."
April 2010 (PlusNews)

Photo: Edgar Mwakaba/IRIN
"This is a girl that I would like to marry"
LILONGWE, Lazzar Phiri*, a health worker in Malawian capital, Lilongwe, doesn't only preach the benefits of male circumcision - he knows them first hand. Almost a year ago he went for the minor operation at a clinic run by the family planning organization, Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) - Future Family in the Chichewa language. In a country where "the cut" remains controversial, Phiri sat down with IRIN/PlusNews to talk about it.

"It was a thing I had wanted to do for so long - I work in the health sector so I'd been reading books, discovering the importance of one getting circumcised, that's why I decided to come.

"Mostly I was interested in the healthier status – the better hygiene, the partial prevention of HIV [in men] and the [possible] lesser chance of infecting your partner [with the human papillomavirus, linked to cervical cancer].

"I talked to my fiancée to say I wanted to get circumcised, because sometimes ladies say, 'Why?' I ... [explained] why I wanted to go for circumcision and she accepted it.

"I talked to her about [having to wait six weeks for the wound to heal before having sex]. It's a thing that we needed to discuss, when it comes to that, so that she should not get surprised as to why this thing is not happening - she was expecting to wait.

"It wasn't difficult to talk to her but, again, this is a girl that I would like to marry. [Also,] we are not in that situation where we are staying together; she stays at her parents' and I stay at my house ... maybe with married couples sometimes it may be difficult.

"By the time I was coming to the clinic, [my fiancée] even escorted me and picked me up again when I was going back home. I got good support from her, she's an understanding girl.

"After I finally decided, I was nervous. I was thinking of so many things that could happen after, maybe the pain - but then, you know, it just takes courage – if you really want it you can go on with it. I just decided, 'I have to do it', but anyone would get nervous."

*not his real name



[The above testimony is provided by IRIN, a humanitarian news service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.]

IRIN welcomes editorial and photographic submissions for inclusion on this page, reserving the right to select and edit as appropriate.
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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.