10 teens hospitalised after botched circumcisions

2015-06-17 17:03
Initiates (File)

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Johannesburg - At least 10 Eastern Cape teenagers have had to be hospitalised after botched circumcisions during their initiation rituals, the provincial health department said on Wednesday.

"The situation is that we have seven boys in the Siphethu hospital in Ntabankulu and two admissions to the Mthatha regional hospital. These were last week, but today we had one initiate that we had to insert a catheter [for]," spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told News24.

"They had septic penises and were dehydrated. They will have to stay in hospital for some time."

The teens came from different areas and went to different initiation schools.

He said 16 boys fled one local initiation school when health officials visited it at the weekend.

"This concerns us, because they only go to hospital when it's too late to save their lives or their penises."

Circumcision season

He said the co-operative governance MEC would officially launch this year's circumcision season on June 20.

"We appeal to members of the public and parents to co-operate with government," Kupelo said.

"We don't want these boys to end up in hospital."

Meanwhile, Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela said on Wednesday that government was taking steps to combat illegal initiation schools in the country.

He said Eastern Cape initiation schools were a big problem, but he also blamed the poor implementation of initiation school revival.

"Eastern Cape is still a big challenge, in particular... [the] amaMpondo area," he said.

He said the stigmatisation of the amaMpondo people had pushed their children to be circumcised by unqualified surgeons.

“A number of illegal schools are unfortunately discovered there. Last year we had discovered 1300 illegal schools just in that particular area... [the] amaMpondo area.

“In the Eastern Cape there are trials that are still going on of people who were responsible for the deaths of initiates in their illegal initiations schools.”

Praise for Limpopo

The department had also trained official initiation school operators and screened surgeons to determine if they were medically fit to conduct circumcisions in schools.

He praised Limpopo, saying the province was a good example of how initiation schools could be run.

According to department records, 28 000 initiates attended the schools in Limpopo last year, and only one died.

“If that illegal initiation school was closed earlier, we would not have death in Limpopo because that death happened in an illegal school,” said Bapela.

Read more on:    mthatha  |  health  |  initiation

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