NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – The Ministry of Health and the National AIDS and STI programme (NASCOP) on Tuesday launched the PrePex circumcision device which they say will address some of the barriers faced during the traditional rite of passage.
The device is said to have very low and mild side effects with medics stating that it is bloodless, faster and easier.
A study showed that providing the male circumcision devices as an alternative method to conventional circumcision would encourage many men to seek circumcision.
NASCOP Head Martin Sirengo said the device will offer men especially those in non-circumcising communities an alternative to surgical circumcision.
“The study has shown that the PrePex male circumcision device meets the safety threshold used internationally for such devices to pave way for its use in Kenya,” said Sirengo.
The device will now be adopted in the voluntary medical male circumcision programme (VMMC) which was launched in 2008 as part of the intensified HIV prevention by the Ministry of Health.
An impact evaluation conducted in March this year by NASCOP showed that the VMMC programme helped avert between 21,000 to 33,000 new HIV infections through male circumcisions conducted from 2008 to 2015.
“These models have shown that even if Kenya stopped providing VMMC services today, the circumcisions already done would continue to significantly reduce risk of HIV infection to individuals and effectively reduce the number of new infections with time,” said the VMC programme manager NASCOP Jacob Odhiambo.
The device which has been under pilot in four counties is said to have gained about 70pc acceptability among the 2,000 participants involved.
Compared to conventional surgical circumcision, health stakeholders say the PrePex device does not use surgical blades and there is no need for stitching of the foreskin thus reducing any adverse complications.
“It is encouraging that men who want to be circumcised will now have an option,” said Sirengo. “They can now get circumcised with little disruption to their busy work and personal schedules.”
The device which has been prequalified by the World Health Organisation will be rolled out nationally for voluntary male circumcision of those aged 13 years and above in 10 priority counties.
They are Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Turkana, Kericho, West Pokot, Mombasa and Nairobi.