Israelis train Africans to circumcise against AIDS
The effort is part of the Operation Abraham project headed by Dr. Inon Schenker.
Doctors perform circumcision Photo: Courtesy Operation Abraham
A group of Israeli experts on performing circumcision have taught African women
doctors to circumcise men to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
is part of the Operation Abraham project headed by Dr. Inon
This was revealed on Sunday in a report summarizing 18 months
of activity by the project, which includes 14 African countries. Using local
anesthetic, the female doctors – who had little experience in the operation –
learned to remove the foreskins using only local anesthetics in a community
clinic, even though the surgery was on adult men. At present, they perform some
100 of the operations every day.
The Israeli project has trained 17
medical teams at 13 hospitals in KwaZulu- Natal in South
Schenker, a veteran AIDS prevention specialist based in
Jerusalem, said that each circumcision performed prevents five cases of HIV
infection in a continent where AIDS is endemic. The Israelis were
accepted because of the country’s long experience with performing ritual
circumcision on adult immigrants who want to become formally Jewish. The project
has been recommended by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS for reducing
the spread of HIV.
Members of Zimbabwe’s parliament decided this weekend
to undergo circumcision to promote their country’s campaign to have the surgery
to reduce transmission of the AIDS virus. They hoped that by serving as an
example, many other men in Zimbabwe would undergo the surgery as
According to St. Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill, South Africa – an
impoverished rural and “peri-urban” area on the outskirts of Durban – “this
groundbreaking initiative has already prevented thousands of South African men
from acquiring HIV.”
One-third of the people living in the area are HIV
positive – the highest incidence of HIV in the country and indeed, the world –
and 60 percent are unemployed. The government-aided Catholic mission hospital
treats the “poorest of the poor.”