Over the past four years, Internews in Kenya’s Voices in Health program has worked with journalists to tell the story of medical male circumcision. This follows the release of encouraging HIV prevention research findings from Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, which showed male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection.
The journalists’ stories outlined the health benefits for entire communities if men are circumcised. Male circumcision was initially frowned upon by those who do not traditionally circumcise. Four years later, close to half a million circumcisions have been performed through a massive drive led by the Kenyan government.
To measure what role the media played in this success, a media assessment was recently conducted by AVAC and USAID in seven East and Southern African countries. Among the seven countries, Kenya – often lauded as the success story in scaling up VMMC – stood out for its high marks on media coverage of VMMC. The photo stories of six Internews trainees compiled in The Kindest Cut is an example of coverage as a catalyst for change.