Fewer circumcision deaths in ECape

2010-12-24 12:43

Traditional leaders and iingcibi (surgeons) from the Eastern Cape believe their efforts have resulted in a drop in the circucision death toll this year.

Provincial health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said 13 boys had died since the start of the summer circumcision season, compared with 16 around the same time last year.

However, reports at the same time last year put the figure at 23.

Chairperson of the province’s House of Traditional Leaders Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said the decline was the result of their awareness campaigns aimed at parents, would-be initiates and traditional leaders.

Traditional leaders are planning to increase visits to initiation schools from as early as March next year.

Figures from the provincial department of health show that 54 youths have died so far this year, compared to 77 last year.

In the winter circumcision period of this year, 41 initiates died.

Kupelo said many of the deaths this year were not related to complications during the circumcisions but rather were due to medical conditions that were not declared to the initiation school, such as diabetes and tuberculosis.

The number of deaths from botched procedures was decreasing, he said, because of the department’s role in preventing illegal initiation practices.

The department raids initiation schools and closes illegal ones, and attempts to create awareness about safe circumcision practices.

However, Kupelo maintained that the responsibility to prevent circumcision deaths did not lie with the department.

“It’s parents, traditional leaders, surgeons and nurses who should ensure the correct practices are followed, illegal schools are reported and complications are medically treated as soon as possible,” he said.

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