Circumcision deaths: DA calls for task team

2010-06-30 00:00

THE national Health Department has expressed concern over the deaths of young boys while undergoing traditional circumcision in various parts of the country.

So far 39 boys are reported to have died in the Eastern Cape alone, while others are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, and face the prospect of genital amputation.

Health director-general Precious Matsoso said traditions need to be practised in line with acceptable health norms to prevent deaths. “While efforts are made to correct this tragic situation, the department would like to urge parents to advise their children against unsafe circumcision.

“This problem has been going on for some time and we have to put a stop to it. The deaths of young people robs our country of its future — and it’s even worse when such deaths occur under such circumstances which are avoidable,” she said in a statement.

In response to the statistics, the Democratic Alliance has called for the departments of Traditional Affairs and Health to set up a task team to properly investigate the procedure and make recommendations.

DA shadow minister of health Mike Waters said it is the responsibility of Traditional Affairs to monitor the number of initiation schools operating in the country, while the Health Department should ensure that schools meet basic health standards.


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