General Practitioners (GP’s) in the private sector will now
be equipped and empowered with the surgical skill to perform medical male
circumcisions (MMC) thanks to a partnership between Western Cape Department of
Health and Metropolitan Health Risk Management, who have teamed up with a
surgical team overseen by a leading Cape Town Urologist, Dr Greg Webb, at
Mediclinic Constantiaberg hospital.
Preventing HIV infection
The outcomes of several studies including three large-scale
randomised controlled trials in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya, resulted in the
World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS advocating MMC as an important
strategy in the prevention of HIV infection in areas where HIV is transmitted
primarily via heterosexual sexual intercourse. As a response to this, South
Africa’s Department of Health adopted MMC’s as a HIV prevention strategy.
Research findings suggest that the effectiveness of MMC’s
reduces the risk of female-to-male transmission when the foreskin is completely
removed. The relative risk of HIV
infection is up to 60% lower in circumcised men.
Male circumcision has also been associated with a number of
other health benefits. Although there are risks to male circumcision, serious
complications are rare. Accordingly, male circumcision, together with other
prevention interventions, could play an important role in HIV prevention.
The WHO advocates that MMC’s will have the best results when
implemented on a large scale in areas where HIV prevalence is high and male
circumcision rates are low. The
successful implementation of the MMC strategy requires a string network of
partnerships between government, NGOs and the private sector.
"As the private sector, we have an important role to
play in supporting HIV prevention, by empowering more healthcare providers to
achieve the Department of Health national objectives," said Siraaj Adams,
Executive Manager for the HIV YourLife Programme.
Hands-on training provided
The MCC training will be provided by an expert surgeon who
has extensive practical skills with the procedure. Didactic training will be provided together
with a comprehensive manual on the procedure outline. In addition, complete
hands-on training will be provided to ensure all clinicians are equipped with
the clinical skills of service provision.
The first pilot training session took place on 7 September
at the Mediclinic Constantiaberg hospital, with more training sessions for
GP’s planned this year.