Cosatu outcry over Israeli circumcision device

2014-09-29 16:42

South Africa may turn to an Israeli circumcision device to reduce the number of young males who die in botched initiation ceremonies.

Department of health spokesperson Joe Maila said that the government was still studying the device, known as PrePex, and had not yet decided whether or not to officially sanction its use and make it widely available.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions said it was opposed to the government doing any business with Israel because of human rights violations.

“We have a problem that the device comes from Israel. We need to boycott everything that comes from that pariah state,” National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union spokesperson Sizwe Pamla told Reuters.

The nonsurgical disposable device PrePex, endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has been piloted at several sites across South Africa but has not yet been introduced in state hospitals.

PrePex, developed by Israel firm Circ MedTech, allows circumcisions to be performed by nurses. This will free up doctors and operating theatres in busy government facilities.

Pamla said if PrePex was introduced in state hospitals, nurses affiliated to Cosatu would refuse to perform circumcisions using the device.

South Africa has encouraged medical circumcisions over the less safe traditional practices and believes it could also help in the fight against HIV/Aids, which has infected at least 12% of the population.

According to the WHO, male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquiring HIV in men by about 60%.

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