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WHO says circumcision device safe

Health & Science

By Maureen Odiwour

Kisumu, Kenya: Prepex device used in voluntary male circumcision in Nyanza meets international standards, World Health Organization (WHO) has declared.

Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS) Director, Walter Obiero said the approval by WHO was an important step in the research that has seen 50 men out of 425 circumcised using the device.

Dr Obiero said the research will provide the Ministry of Health with adequate information to enable it decide on whether to adopt prepex in national voluntary male circumcision programme.

“WHO prequalification is an important step in the process, but we also need to ensure that the prepex device is a safe and acceptable complement to conventional male circumcision surgery in our local context,” he said.

Prepex device that is already in use in Homabay and Kisumu consists of an elastic mechanism that fits closely around an inner ring, clamping the foreskin and cutting off its blood supply. The foreskin then dries up and is removed after a week.

The study is being conducted by the Male Circumcision Consortium in collaboration with the National Aids and STD Control Programme and NRHS.

The purpose is to assess the safety and acceptability of prepex assisted male circumcision among 425 men in routine health-care settings in Kisumu and Rachuonyo in Homa Bay County, with results expected by September.

Currently 50 men have been circumcised using the device and 325 more are remaining to complete the research that is expected to cost Sh21.3million funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A note concerning the prequalification on the WHO’s website states that men who went through circumcision using the device reported less pain with prepex than with conventional surgery.

The pain reported was minimal especially during the first few hours to days after device placement and at removal. The prepex procedure takes less time to perform (including placement and removal) than conventional surgery, but it takes one to two weeks longer to heal.

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