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)
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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid