WHO Endorses Chinese Male Circumcision Device Against African AIDS Transmission

WHO Endorses Chinese Male Circumcision Device Against African AIDS Transmission

From FinancialTimes. Story by Jamil Anderlini.

The World Health Organization has prequalified a Chinese-­made, single-­use, disposable device called Shangring that is used to circumcise boys and men over 13 years old without surgery.

Male circumcision is recommended by the WHO as a strategy for reducing the transmission of AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Randomised controlled trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have found circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by about 60 percent.

“Shangring will be particularly valuable in countries with high HIV transmission rates, such as many parts of Africa,” the WHO said in a statement.

…WHO prequalification will allow the device to be used in parts of the world with very high AIDS transmission rates.

…The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helped fund clinical trials and pilot studies on the safety and acceptability of Shangring and provided technical assistance to support WHO prequalification of the device.

For decades Chinese industries have been accused of copying products from developed markets and for years the government has tried to encourage innovation in virtually every field.

But in even the most cutting­-edge industries such as IT and computing, Chinese companies tend to emulate successful models from other markets rather than come up with groundbreaking advances.

Within China, experts and officials have blamed lack of innovation on everything from the complexity of the Chinese language and traditional education methods to political repression from the authoritarian Communist party.

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In the healthcare sector more broadly, China is still in the process of catching up but many analysts believe there will be much more innovation in future.

“There is very little innovation in the pharmaceutical sector in China,  for example. It is very much behind when it comes to research and development,” said Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO representative in China. “But what I see is many, many very smart people and a new generation of researchers who are much more oriented towards global markets, toward end quality assurance, and I believe there will be much more innovation in the future.”

Read more at FinancialTimes.