KZN plan to circumcise baby boys

2010-06-21 00:00

THE KZN Health Department is seeking legal opinion from its national office and the National Health Council before it can embark on its neonatal circumcision drive.

The department has introduced a medical male circumcision campaign in the province as part of a comprehensive HIV/Aids reduction drive.

The campaign is a direct response to the call by King Goodwill Zwelithini to bring back the procedure and was officially launched in April 2010 in Nongoma.

Between the launch and May, about 2 350 males were circumcised around the province. Now the province is looking at having babies circumcised at birth.

Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said they seek clarity on the parents’ right to decide for the neonates and whether the department can, as prescribed, do the procedure under local anaesthesia as opposed to general anaesthesia, given that these are neonates.

“The department is currently seeking legal opinion on the matter from our national department and the national health council.

“This we are doing to ensure that when we roll out the mass circumcision we are not challenged legally or otherwise,” said Maxon.

Approximately 117 638 males are born annually.

Maxon said if all the issues are clarified, the department is expecting an acceptance rate of 80%, which translates to about 94 110 circumcisions.

He said all mothers will receive counselling before their babies are circumcised.

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