The woes of conventional medical male circumcision

Ever wondered what it is like to cut your foreskin and have it heal with all the stitches on it? Well, before the PrePex method of tying that is currently in use at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe, medical male circumcision meant just that–cutting off the foreskin and stitching the wound.

Ever wondered what it is like to cut your foreskin and have it heal with all the stitches on it? Well, before the PrePex method of tying that is currently in use at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe, medical male circumcision meant just that–cutting off the foreskin and stitching the wound.

Robert Kayinamura, from Remera Kabeeza, was circumcised aged 26. His was an ‘ordeal’.

“Although I was sedated around the penis, it became a little painful during the stitching. The healing process was a nightmare. There was to be no erection whatsoever, lest the blood veins become taut and rupture,” he reminisces.

“It is recommended that you avoid heat and even at night, you would need a fan nearby.”

Dr Leon Muyenzi Leon Ngeruka, a PrePex expert and coordinator of male circumcision in Rwanda Military Hospital,  says circumcision is needed for hygiene, reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, preventing cancer of the penis and cervical cancer in women (caused by a virus HPV from uncircumcised male).

“In Rwanda, the number of circumcised men is increasing every day. Using PrePex method, we have circumcised 7,964 people, but the number goes to 220,000 people if we include non-PrePex method. We are targeting 700,000 people in two years,” Chaste Karangwa, the coordinator of HIV/Aids prevention through male circumcision in Rwanda Bio-medical Centre, said.

Dr Ngeruka said PrePex is a new technique of circumcision using a device–a ring placed on the male genital foreskin to stop blood flow going to the skin on top of the male sex so that the skin dries and fall off with the device after seven days.

This technique requires no sterile setting but just a clean environment. No need of  anesthesia either.

Dr Karangwa said the inside skin of the foreskin is soft and moist. Near the surface of the foreskin are special cells called ‘target cells’ that susceptible to infections. During sex, the foreskin is more likely to get tears or sores that increase the risk of infection. Although it is proven that circumcision helps reduce chances of infection, it is not 100 per cent effective. This calls for protection even for circumcised persons.

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