4 000 men to be circumcised
Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal health department intends circumcising 4 000 men before the end of school holidays on July 13, it said on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Chris Maxon said more than 3 000 people had been circumcised since the department started intensifying its circumcision programme.
He said the circumcision camps it held were successful because they involved health practitioners, traditional leaders and the community.
"From the time people are recruited to being circumcised, izinduna (traditional headmen) are consulted and a full screen test is done on the person before the procedure starts," said Maxon.
The screening was for HIV, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections and hypertension.
"When young boys are concerned, we make sure that parent consent is given. The circumcision is done on boys who are 16 years and older," said Maxon.
After the procedure, the youths were referred to their local clinics for monitoring.
Maxon said Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo would visit circumcision camps in Nongoma, Ezakheni, Amajuba, Gamalakhe and uMzimkhulu this weekend.
This year, 39 initiates have died so far in the Eastern Cape's winter circumcision season.
The latest deaths were in the Ntabankulu and Engcobo areas of Transkei, and on farms in the Chris Hani district, which includes Queenstown.
Last week National Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka said he was considering regulating initiation schools after ongoing reports of youths dying at illegal schools.
His department was also seeking harsh sentences for those found running illegal schools.
The Eastern Cape already has its own circumcision legislation, but prosecutions are sometimes hampered by a lack of co-operation from communities and parents.
Maxon said circumcision was normally done for health, religious and traditional reasons.
He said the department was taking its campaign to churches to teach people more about circumcision.