Training Operation
Training Operation Israel news photo: Jerusalem AIDS Project, Israel

A group of Senegalese doctors is leaving Israel Monday after spending a week learning with Israeli physicians the intricacies of performing circumcision on adult males. A joint group of Senegalese and Israeli doctors will now travel to several locations in Africa to perform the procedure in an attempt to reduce the amount of HIV infections on the continent.

Study Session (Israel news photo: Jerusalem AIDS project, Israel)

While in the country, the Senegalese doctors visited Israeli hospitals where adult male circumcision is performed and learned about traditional ritual circumcision in Jewish communities. In addition, they participated in simulated training of the procedure at the Tel HaShomer hospital on an anatomically accurate model, which was developed by Professor Yoram Mor and Doctor Yaron Munz of the Israel Center for Medical Simulation and the Israeli Urology Association.

The unique program has been named the Operation-Abraham Collaborative, in recognition of the biblical Abraham who was commanded by G-d to perform the first circumcisions in history on himself and the members of his household. Also collaborating on the project are Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, Edith Wolfson Medical Center, Asaf Haroffe Hospital, The Israeli Association for Pediatric Surgery, and the Jerusalem AIDS project.

Israeli doctors have rich experience circumcising adult males, performing almost 100,000 operations yearly on new immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. Religious restrictions or lack of knowledge in those countries prevented many Jewish boys from receiving a ritual circumcision at the traditional age of eight days.


Senegalese physicians also are quite skilled in circumcising because the predominantly Muslim country has a high percentage of circumcision and a low percentage of AIDs. They will join the Israeli physicians in circumcising in other parts of Africa where HIV infection is more prevalent and circumcision rates are lower.

Numerous studies have shown that male circumcision reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, foremost among them AIDs. Several studies done in Africa over the past decade have shown that circumcision results in a 50-60 percent reduction of HIV infection.

In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS decided that male circumcision should be recommended for the worldwide prevention of AIDS. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made similar recommendations. Uganda inaugurated a program to circumcise males to prevent HIV infection earlier this month.

Israel first sent doctors to Swaziland, South Africa in 2007 in a highly successful program to teach local doctors to perform circumcisions to combat AIDs.