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PrePex Newsletter #30, December 2016
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The VMMC Project – A Story of Leading by Example

Dr Phiri’s Personal Experience with PrePex
and his Vision for an HIV-Free future in Zambia and Southern Africa

 
Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Mannasseh Phiri who, some 4 years ago, was the first Zambian to be circumcised with use of the PrePex™ device.
Originally born in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Mannasseh Phiri moved from Zimbabwe to Zambia when he was just 14 years old, and has lived there since. (He says jokingly that his umbilical chord and now his foreskin, will forever tie him to Zimbabwe the land of his birth!!)
 
Since 2007/8 when he was a Consultant to PSI at the start of its VMMC program in Zambia, and later as the Country Director for SFH/ PSI Zambia from 2009 to 2012, Dr Phiri was passionate about the scale-up of VMMC in Zambia. Thus, at the age of 62, he decided to lead by example and become circumcised using the PrePex device.

On one of his work visits in Zimbabwe during May 2012, he had the chance to pay a quick visit to a PSI clinic in Harare, in order to undergo the PrePex procedure.

Although Dr Phiri had felt the need for circumcision, he didn’t like the idea of a surgical procedure, which was the only available option in Zambia at that time. When he heard about PrePex — and after seeing the procedure video — he ‘was sold’. Dr Phiri found PrePex more appealing than surgical MC as "PrePex was very quick with minimal pain and I was able to get back to work immediately after the procedure."His wife was in favor of MC and supported him through the process.
 
Traveling across Zimbabwe during the week in which he was wearing the PrePex device, Dr Phiri experienced no problems. Apart from minor pain on Day 2 of wearing the device (mitigated with analgesics), he was able to function normally and continue his work of visiting the PSI Zimbabwe VMMC program throughout the week.
 
In light of his personal experience of having undergone a PrePex procedure, Dr Phiri has strongly advocated for and recommended the procedure. (At the start of Early Infant MC in Zambia in 2008, it was his own 3 week old grandson who became the first in Zambia to be circumcised as part of an Early Infant MC study).
 
Following positive results from the PrePex Safety and Acceptability study, The Zambia Ministry of Health has recently started the PrePex Active Surveillance phase. "PrePex is a smarter way to do MC - and that’s the way to go! I hope that our government will quickly adopt PrePex as the preferred method for the VMMC program" Dr Phiri says, and encourages more Zambian men to opt for the procedure.
 
Today, Dr Phiri doesn’t have much time to rest; he is an active Advocate for HIV and AIDS prevention in general, and ensuring access to HIV services and treatment for the LGBTI community in Zambia; he engages traditional-circumcision-practicing communities in VMMC; and he participates in advocacy for HIV vaccine research in Zambia and the sub-region .
 
We wish him and his family the best of luck and to all of our friends around the world: 

Thank you for following our updates! 
The PrePex Team  
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