The visiting Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said that Rwanda’s new male circumcision device, the PrePex system - signals a major revolution in the global fight against HIV.
Sidibé, who also doubles as the Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, made the remarks after witnessing how the device is used during his visit to Nyamata Hospital.
“What I have witnessed today marks a revolution in terms of circumcision. This is simple technology that can be rolled out to the entire world,” Sidibé said.
The PrePex System, a new device and methodology for rapid adult male circumcision, works through a special elastic mechanism that fits closely around an inner ring, trapping the foreskin, which dries up and is removed after a week.
The system does not need a sterile environment or anaesthetic, and men can be back at work within a short time, rather than taking several days to heal.
“It takes only two minutes to conduct circumcision using this system meaning it is time saving, there is no pain to the patient, and it contributes to the reduction of HIV contraction by 66%,” Sidibé added.
He, however, noted that there is need to link the scientific evidence and cultural change to stem new HIV infections.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, said that her ministry is proud to be behind the groundbreaking research which is likely to change the world.
Binagwaho is one of the researchers on the new system.
“The most interesting thing about this system is that, it doesn’t require going to the theatre, it can be done from any clean environment.
It is also cost-effective and eliminates factors such as anaesthetic and highly trained staff. Any well-trained person can conduct it,” Binagwaho said.
According to Dr. Leo Ngeruka, research on the system is still on-going and volunteers are above the 21 years.
In a related development, a ten-man delegation from Zimbabwe also visited Nyamata Hospital to witness how the PrePex System works.
Several African countries have expressed interest in the system.