July 9, 2013
"Fourteen African countries in eastern and southern Africa plan on circumcising a total of 20 million men by 2016 in an effort to curb the transmission of HIV," IRIN reports, adding, "A number of these countries are lagging behind on their targets, and feel the [non-surgical circumcision] PrePex device will give their programs a much-needed boost, while others are more cautious." The news service looks at ongoing studies and pilot programs using the device in Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Botswana, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda (7/3). In a separate article, IRIN examines the voluntary medical male circumcision program in Zimbabwe, where "[f]unds for the [program] are lying idle, as the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare says not enough men are coming forward to use the service, which was launched as part of an HIV prevention package." One "barrier to the program's success is the fact that male circumcision is a surgical procedure, and people are generally fearful of medical procedures," the news service writes, adding, "The government hopes that the recent WHO approval, or 'prequalification,' of PrePex -- a nonsurgical device -- could help service providers address some of the fears over surgical procedures" (7/8).