KZN to circumcise prisoners

2010-10-29 09:51

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government will soon start circumcising prisoners to reduce HIV infections among inmates, health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said.

“We will soon start circumcising prisoners in our campaign to reduce infections,” he said.

A total of 10 229 male circumcisions had been done since the provincial government started the male medical circumcision programme in April this year.

Dhlomo said the department had a target of 2.5 million circumcisions by June 2014. Previously circumcisions among Zulus were conducted traditionally. With the permission from King Goodwill Zwelithini, government would be conducting them medically.

R40m boost

The Malaysian-made device, Tara KLamp is used to conduct circumcisions.

“In order to improve on the number the department is embarking upon various strategies and engaging with traditional leaders, churches, tertiary institutions and prisons,” said Dhlomo.

He said 148 circumcisions had been done at Qalakabusha Prison, 118 at Durban University of Technology and 157 at the University of Zululand in September.

KwaZulu-Natal’s major circumcision drive has been supported by the central government.

According to the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement tabled on Wednesday, the provinces' male circumcision programmes would get a R40m boost in the current financial year, as part of the fight against Aids.

The money is part of an extra R100m to scale up HIV and Aids prevention.

Criticism of clamp

Dhlomo said he was happy that no one had been hurt during circumcisions.

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.

Dhlomo said they would also circumcise priests.

“We believe that if we circumcise them, they will encourage members of their congregations to test.”