News / Africa

Male Circumcision without Surgeon Offers Hope of AIDS-Free Generation in Rwanda

Volunteers queue for new non-surgical male circumcision procedure in Rwanda. (Courtesy Rwandan Dept. of Defense)
Volunteers queue for new non-surgical male circumcision procedure in Rwanda. (Courtesy Rwandan Dept. of Defense)
TEXT SIZE - +
Kim Lewis
— Rwanda’s Ministry of Health announced a major nationwide expansion of non-surgical adult male circumcisions as part of its strategies to reduce HIV/AIDS infections.  A device called a PrePex was recently cleared for use. It will enable up to 700,000 men between the ages of 15 and 49 to be circumcised across the country.  The device could revolutionize the way traditional circumcisions are perceived and performed. It will also save lives. 
 
Six years ago, the World Health Organization and UNAIDS set a goal to have 20 million adult men voluntarily circumcised by the year 2015.  It was part of an effort to reduce heterosexually acquired HIV/AIDS.  The goal was based on clinical research that showed that an estimated 3.5 million lives would be saved, along with a savings of $16.5 million in long-term healthcare costs. To reach the target, a scaling-up process was needed.
 
Tzameret Fuerst is co-founder and president of Circ MedTech, the developer of the PrePex device, a non-surgical means to circumcise men. She said to date, about ten percent of the target goal has been met, and that they now have about two years to achieve the 20-million mark by 2015.
 
“On the supply side, Africa lacks the surgical infrastructure and human resources to scale up a surgical procedure,” said Fuerst. She offers the example of Rwanda, which has an 11 million people and only 582 physicians.  “So it’s a real challenge for them to leverage the very few surgeons they have to scale up the surgical procedures. 
 
“On the demand side, it is a tough sell to get men, healthy men, into a clinic when they have to undergo a surgical procedure and they’re fearful of the blood, and then the injections, and the loss of work,” said Fuerst.

Listen to interview on expansion of Rwanda male circumcision campaign
Listen to interview on expansion of Rwanda male circumcision campaigni
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Fuerst said those challenges motivated her company to create the PrePex device.
 
Pain-free procedure rural nurses can perform

“The PrePex actually addresses these concerns.  And what we’ve created is the first device in the world that can conduct non-surgical adult male circumcisions. And what that means, is that the procedures are conducted with no injected anesthesia.  It is completely bloodless; it entails no suturing, no sterile settings, no electricity, no physicians, no hospitals,” explained Fuerst. 
 
Circ MedTech president Tzameret Fuerst celebrates launch of PrePex at a Rwandan clinic (Courtesy Circ MedTech)Circ MedTech president Tzameret Fuerst celebrates launch of PrePex at a Rwandan clinic (Courtesy Circ MedTech)
x
Circ MedTech president Tzameret Fuerst celebrates launch of PrePex at a Rwandan clinic (Courtesy Circ MedTech)
Circ MedTech president Tzameret Fuerst celebrates launch of PrePex at a Rwandan clinic (Courtesy Circ MedTech)
The Circ MedTech executive said a nurse with only three days of training can perform the procedure in a non-hospital setting. Fuerst explained that the PrePex works in the same way as an umbilical cord removal from a new-born infant.
 
“If you recall, you clamped the umbilical cord and you stopped the flow of blood and oxygen to the unwanted tissue.  So, that’s exactly what we’re doing to the unwanted foreskin tissue.  So by applying radial elastic pressure, for a very special elastic ring, on top of a rigid inner-ring that goes under the foreskin, we’re essentially stopping the flow of blood and circulation to the unwanted foreskin tissue.” The tissue dies within a few hours and in a week it dries up.  She said it can be removed like you’re going to cut your finger nails.
 
Testing expanded in other African countries

She added the men actually wear the device for six to seven days.  They are able to go back to work and go on with their daily lives after placement and removal of it. For the past three years, Rwanda has pioneered this new approach. Other countries testing PrePex include Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique, the Gambia, and Kenya.
 
Fuerst said this non-surgical approach “will completely change the terminology of what is possible in scaling up of adult male circumcision because we’re addressing the key concerns of many men - of why they’re not stepping up to get circumcised.”
 
The campaign to rid a generation of HIV/AIDS has made great progress in improving access to treatment and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.  Many health officials believe scaling up non-surgical adult male circumcision will be a big step toward achieving an AIDS-free world and that this new non-surgical device will help to reach that goal.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid