Teen could lose his penis after botched circumcision

2015-06-23 16:27
A Xhosa boy covered with a blanket and smeared with chalky mud, sits in a field as he and others undergo a traditional circumcision ceremony into manhood. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

A Xhosa boy covered with a blanket and smeared with chalky mud, sits in a field as he and others undergo a traditional circumcision ceremony into manhood. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

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East London - An Eastern Cape teen could lose his penis after a botched circumcision, while another is showing signs of assault after attending initiation school, the provincial health department said.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the two were taken to different hospitals on Tuesday.

"The two had severe injuries. One was taken to the Nelson Mandela Central Hospital [in Mthatha]. He might lose his penis."

He emphasised that doctors would not amputate the organ.

"We don't amputate. All those who lose it, lose it through spontaneous amputation when it becomes very septic," Kupelo said.

"We even insist on parental consent when we remove dead skin from the penis, but we never amputate it. Sometimes when we remove the dead skin the penis becomes smaller."

The other teen was taken to Mthatha Central Hospital.

"Besides the circumcision, he was also assaulted and this resulted in a fractured arm."

Kupelo could not immediately say if the two had come from the same initiation school.

Including the pair, 13 teens had been hospitalised for botched circumcisions in the province over the last few weeks.

"All of this is unnecessary. Government is there to help. Going to hospital carries a stigma and that is why we are spending money hiring doctors to go to the schools."

He said boys at some schools were showing signs of dehydration, suggesting they were being denied access to water.

"Even boys with medical conditions who need chronic meds are being denied them," Kupelo said.

"It is only in one part [of the province] where the people are like this. There, the elders who were not circumcised are referred to as 'boys' and are not even allowed [to oversee the initiations]."

He said with the latest assault, hospitals were going to be provided with the relevant forms so that charges could be laid.

"We want to ensure that those who beat up the boys are arrested."

Read more on:    east london  |  health

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