KZN premier defends circumcision clamp

2010-10-26 18:08
Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government has defended the use of the controversial Tara KLamp for male circumcision in the province.

"To me the debates around the use of the clamp are peripher[al]," Premier Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.

"To me it does not matter whether you use scissors or forceps as long as it will remove the foreskin safely."

Mkhize was speaking in Durban at an Aids Foundation conference on culture in the context of Aids.

Criticism of clamp

His comments followed criticism from the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and the Treatment Action Campaign, who said that while they supported male medical circumcision, they had concerns about the Tara KLamp.

They said the plastic device was associated with a very high rate of unpleasant events and pain compared to the standard medical forceps-guided circumcision technique.

The KwaZulu-Natal government recently implemented a massive male circumcision programme, using the Malaysian-made device, after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini called for circumcisions to reduce HIV infections.

Defending the clamp, Mkhize said South Africans were prone to unending debates which delayed implementations of important projects.

He said male circumcisions would play a huge role in reducing HIV infections.

"It must be stressed that this [circumcision] does not replace other preventative measures," he said.

Mkhize said the programme was important because KwaZulu-Natal had a high HIV infection rate.

No complaints

Dr Sandile Tshabalala of the KwaZulu-Natal department of health told the conference he did not understand why people criticised the clamp.

"More than 5 000 people have been circumcised by this clamp and not even a single person has died," he said.

"No-one has complained that his penis has been cut."

He said 157 people had been circumcised at the University of Zululand on Monday.

Professor Nceba Gqaleni of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson Mandela School of Medicine told the conference he would have preferred circumcisions to be done in a traditional way.

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