Original Research

Healthcare providers’ perceptions and understanding of voluntary medical male circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A qualitative study

Celenkosini T. Nxumalo, Gugu G. Mchunu
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 3| a5318 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5318 | © 2021 Celenkosini Thembelenkosini Nxumalo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 April 2021 | Published: 30 August 2021

About the author(s)

Celenkosini T. Nxumalo, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Ndwedwe Community Health Centre, Verulam, South Africa; and, School of Nursing and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Gugu G. Mchunu, School of Nursing and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban


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Abstract

Background: There is compelling evidence that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) reduces the chances of heterosexual transmission of HIV infection. Healthcare workers are among the key influencers in terms of the scale-up of VMMC as they are often involved in mobilisation for uptake. There is a paucity of qualitative research on healthcare workers’ experiences, understanding and perceptions of VMMC; particularly in the South African rural primary healthcare context. This study was conducted to examine healthcare workers perceptions and understanding of VMMC in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Methods: The study employed a qualitative approach using a phenomenographic design. A purposive sample of 15 doctors, nurses and clinical associates working in 6 different rural clinics in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, were interviewed in English in-depth using a semi-structured interview schedule. The interviews were audio-recorded, and transcribed. The results were analysed thematically using phenomenographic data analysis procedures.

Results: Categories of description in participants’ perceptions and understanding of VMMC emerged. The findings of this study revealed that healthcare workers perceptions and understanding of VMMC were predominantly influenced by the hegemonic religious and cultural norms associated with male circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that tailored training to address healthcare workers misperceptions and poor understanding of VMMC is necessary to ensure that they become effective custodians for VMMC implementation.


Keywords

HIV prevention; healthcare workers; medical circumcision; uptake; voluntary medical male circumcision

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