Gicumbi men rush for circumcision
At least 1,000 men have been circumcised within the last three weeks in Gicumbi District as part of the government’s mass circumcision programme that aims at having two million men circumcised over the next two years.
The drive is part of the campaign to reduce the prevalence of HIV as research shows that circumcision reduces chances of contracting HIV by at least 60 percent.
Over 20,000 men have been circumcised countrywide since the campaign began in October 2010.
According to the district’s hospital medical personnel, three weeks after the introduction of a new male circumcision device in district known as prepex, 1,000 have been circumcised with many more awaiting the operation.
The Prepex device is a simple non-surgical method that requires no sterile setting, no injected anesthesia, and it’s a bloodless procedure with no need for sutures.
It has an elastic mechanism that fits closely around an inner ring, trapping the foreskin, which dries up and is removed a week after the placement of the device. Experts say the is easy to use and appropriate for the rural settings
Residents who spoke to The New Times said they were eager for the rolling out of the programme especially using prepex.
“I had always wanted to be circumcised before but originally feared the surgical method.
When I heard of this new device (prepex), I thought it high time I got circumcised,” said a 20 year-old Theophile Ndayishimiye.
Another man who had turned up for circumcision said he was obliged to be circumcised after hearing news that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection by 60 per cent.
“I thought circumcision was only meant for Muslims but when I heard of its importance in reducing chances of contracting HIV/AIDS, I decided to get circumcised,” Jean Batiste Bazambanza, 21, stated.
Some of the residents, who had visited the hospital to have rings removed after the procedure said that they were going about their daily activities despite having the rings.
According to Dr. Valence Nkubito, who is in charge of circumcision programme in the district, the new methodology was timely due to high demand for male circumcision, especially among young adults in the district.
“Without the usage of this new device, we would not have attained even to a quarter of the number that we have circumcised thus far using the conventional surgical procedure,” said Nkubito.
He noted the new procedure takes a meagre four minutes compared to the surgical one which takes 30 minutes.
“With prepex, one nurse works on an average of over 80 people whereas using surgical procedure, a nurse only works on less than 15 people per day.”
Nkubito said that since the introduction of prepex, the hospital had recorded only three minor complications.
“And now it is going to be very difficult for us because we are going to go back on the surgical method as all the logistical support from Hearts and Hands is about to end.”
Hearts and Hands is a South Korean NGO that is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health to promote prepex.
A few years ago, the World Health Organisation recommended the endorsement of male circumcision as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package after randomised and controlled studies in Africa showed male circumcision can reduce the lifetime risk of HIV infection by 53-60 per cent.
The government has been keen to explore innovations in male circumcision that would be more suitable for non-physicians, in non-sterile rural settings, which would minimise the burden on the existing healthcare system.
Contact email: fred.ndoli[at]newtimes.co.rw