Circumcision: all methods being tested

2010-07-06 00:00

THE KZN Health Department is testing all available circumcision methods, said MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Friday.

He was responding to questions about the decision to stop using the Tara-Klamp.

Dhlomo, with KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and other health officials, went to Newcastle and Ladysmith to circumcise participants in camps there on Friday.

The department aims to circumcise about 2 000 schoolboys during the holidays.

In these camps, which are set up throughout the province, youths are taught about responsibilities that accompany becoming a man and about appropriate sexual behaviour.

Said Dhlomo.“Firstly, we never said that the Tara-Klamp is the only available method to circumcise boys.

“It is our responsibility to provide a safe health service to the people, so we are considering all the available methods to perform this operation. We are training our doctors in all these methods and we are committed to doing massive successful circumcision in the province.”

Some parents said they did not know that the Tara-Klamp, which stays attached to the penis for five days, is no longer used.

They are are generally happy, though, that the circumcision drive is going full steam ahead.

A mother who asked not to be named brought her son Zwelakhe (16) to the Newcastle camp. She said only doctors will know which method works well and which does not.

“Honestly, I thought that the Tara-Klamps would be used and I was surprised when my son told me that he did not have it on. He told me that he felt numb and it was painful.

“He did not feel the pain when he was cut because of the injection he was given.

“I just hope that everything will work out fine, because he was so excited about becoming a man,” said the woman.

Another mother demanded that she be allowed to take the foreskins of her sons aged 12 and 17.

She said that it was against her culture for the tissue to be in foreign hands. But the department refused to give it to her, stating that it is against the National Health Act for people to carry around human tissue.

Before the operations, youths undergo a screening session where blood pressure, diabetes and HIV and Aids statuses are checked.

After their wounds have healed, they are to refrain from sexual activity for five to six weeks.

NATIONAL Health Minister Aaron Motsoeledi said on Saturday there are 52 health districts in South Africa with high HIV prevalence.

Ugu, eThekwini and uMgungundlovu in KZN and Gert Sibande district in Mpumalanga are the top four.

Motsoaledi said 70 000 babies are born with HIV every year, while in France, only four babies contract HIV from their mothers. He said that although South Africa accounts for 0,7% of the world’s population, it has 17% of the world’s HIV infections.

Clinical trials in Orange Farm in Gauteng, Kenya, and Uganda demonstrate that circumcised males have almost 60% less chance of contracting HIV during sexual intercourse than men not circumcised.

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