Rwanda: Health Ministry Aims to Circumcise 700 000 Adult Males by 2026 to Prevent HIV/Aids

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Ministry of Health PRESS RELEASE

Republic of Rwanda

Somalilandsun – Rwanda Becomes the First Country to Launch Nationwide Scale-Up

of Non-Surgical Adult Male Circumcision to Reduce HIV Infection

Male circumcision is one of the key strategies to achieving an AIDS Free Generation

November 26, 2013 (Kigali) – The Rwandan Ministry of Health announced today a nationwide scale up of non-surgical adult male circumcision, as one of its strategies to reduce the risk of acquiring the HIV/AIDS infection. With support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, PEPFAR and One UN, the Ministry aims to circumcise 700,000 adult men between the ages of 15-49 across the country using an Elastic Radial Compression Device by the end of 2016.

The device that will be used for non-surgical adult male circumcision received World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification in May 2013, after a rigorous three year clinical and regulatory evaluation process, in the framework of clinical evaluation of devices for male circumcision, which began in Rwanda. The device has also been cleared by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

To attain the set target, the scaling up process will be combined with training of health care providers from District Hospitals and Health centers. The training plan is designed considering the initiation in health facilities from all four Provinces and the City of Kigali, and will then move into all district hospitals countrywide.

Studies have shown that Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV/AIDS infection by roughly 60 percent. In 2007, international health authorities announced a program to circumcise 80 percent of adult males, equaling 20 million men, in the 14 countries in southern and eastern African hit hardest by the HIV epidemic by 2015. According to WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), this mass adult male circumcision effort would prevent an estimated 3.4 million new HIV infections and would result in a net savings of $16.5 billion in treatment and healthcare costs.

For the past three years, Rwanda has pioneered a new approach to VMMC. Rwanda has also opened the Elastic Radial Compression Device Center of Excellence to train surgeons and nurses from the 13 other East and Southern African countries most affected with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“It is the first time we have a device that allows us to scale up VMMC. This will curb the rate of HIV infection in Rwanda. We will deploy this safe non-surgical device hand-in-hand with existing surgical procedures coupled with behavior change through counseling on condom use safe sex practices and faithfulness, to address the epidemic head-on,” said Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda.”

“In six years, Sub-Saharan Africa has met 10 percent of the target to reach 20 million men by 2015. We have roughly two years to reach the remaining 90 percent,” said Tzameret Fuerst, Co-founder and President of Circ MedTech, the developer of the PrePexTM device. “We are at a tipping point in history where the traditional methods and the status quo are just not good enough. To reach the coveted AIDS Free Generation, the world needs groundbreaking innovation, deployed at record speed, with a technique that will drive men into the clinics. PrePex™ is the solution.”

In Rwanda, the PrePexTM device was clinically validated as a bloodless procedure that does not necessitate injected anesthesia or sutures, and can be conducted by nurses in a clean, non-sterile setting. In a WHO audited and peer reviewed randomized controlled comparison study, the device was validated as up to five times faster than the current standard surgical method. This simple technology, combined with its adaptability to resource-limited settings, makes it critical to scaling circumcision across Rwanda and sub-Saharan Africa.

When PrePex™ became the first medical device for adult male circumcision to receive WHO Prequalification, the former United States Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, stated that “the WHO Prequalification of PrePex™ will truly help save lives.”

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About The Rwandan Ministry of Health

The main goal of the Rwandan Ministry of Health is to provide and continually improve the health services of the Rwandan population through the provision of preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care thereby contributing to the reduction of poverty and enhancing the general well-being of the population. For more information visit: www.moh.gov.rw.

Press Contact for The Rwandan Ministry of Health

Nathan Mugume

Email: nathanmugume@gmail.com

Press Contact for Circ MedTech

Danielle Meister Cohen

Email: Danielle.Cohen@Edelman.com

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