Thursday, July 9, 2020

New circumcision gadget to be tried in Botswana

The Ministry of Health is planning to conduct an acceptability study on a new method of circumcision across the country in an effort to entice more men to take part because evidence on the ground shows that men are reluctant to undergo the surgical method.

Giving updates on the progress on man that have undergone surgery since the circumcision campaign started in 2011, the National Coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Conrad Ntswape, said the ministry is planning to conduct an acceptability study this November to see if Batswana can get used to the new device called Prepex.

He said men across the country are reluctant to circumcise due to the pain that takes long to heal.
The device will be inserted on the manhood and takes a minimum of five days to be removed. It helps to reduce pain and time to heal as is more convenience than the current surgical method. He said safety for man is very high on the agenda because there won’t be any surgery or cutting that may result in bleeding.

“There is absolutely no bleeding or injection after the device is inserted on the manhood,’ said Ntswape, adding that there is no injection at all as most man fear injections. He said the method will ease and allow man to take part with a minimum of discomfort.

The method will help the working man in, for example, construction and sports industry as they are the most affected and fear to lose their jobs while undergoing treatment, which currently lasts for about four to six weeks. The Prepex Device is working in Rwanda and countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe are currently going through the acceptability study.

“So we cannot just take it from there and start using it here without really finding out from the man locally to see if they can accept it or not. But if the men are saying they are comfortable, we shall go for it,” said Ntswape. ‘’We don’t suspect anything negative yet as there are no complications or adverse events coming out of using Prepex but┬á we are going to start with a small number of people of about 50, and if they are comfortable, then we can enrol and conduct on a pilot exercise throughout the country.”

Ntswape said that if most people are comfortable with it locally then they will wait for the approval of the World Health Organization before use.

More than 50 thousand have been circumcised since 2011 and now they have decided to take on the school going student, more especially at secondary schools, as the students are willing to be circumcised in large numbers.

“In four weeks, 9 thousands students have been circumcised so with the new device, we are hopeful that most people will be circumcised. We have also introduced circumcision of infants as an effort to reduce the chances of getting infected by HIV/ AIDS.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.