Botched circumcision kills boy

2009-06-25 18:06

Johannesburg - Septicaemia claimed the life of a boy from Bisho after he underwent an illegal circumcision, the Eastern Cape health department said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the boy died on the way to hospital on Wednesday.

This brought the death toll in the province's winter circumcision season to 12. All the victims had been at illegal circumcision schools.

Besides the boy who died on Wednesday, two boys died from natural causes (such as respiratory diseases) and the rest from dehydration.

Illegal circumcision carried three distinct risks, Kupelo said. Boys risked death from a variety of medical complications, amputation of genitals due to infection or gangrene and HIV infection due to unsanitary circumcision methods.

Last week two boys lost their penises to gangrene, he said.

Traditional leaders in the areas reported a mushrooming of illegal initiation schools.

The department appealed to parents to monitor their children because it was clear the boys were determined to go into the bush or into the mountains to attend the schools without consulting their parents.

"We are working with traditional leaders and police in an attempt to stop these unnecessary deaths," Kupelo said.

A total of 200 boys had been rescued by police and the provincial health department from illegal initiation schools over the last few months. Nine people had been arrested in connection with the illegal schools.