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Health director condemns traditional circumcisions in Kavango

2019-06-04  John Muyamba

Health director condemns traditional circumcisions in Kavango

RUNDU - The Director of Health in Kavango East and Kavango West Timeya Ngwira has condemned the practice of traditional circumcision reported to be high in the two regions.

The practitioners charge N$160 for each child that they circumcise though in the past they also accepted goats.

 It emerged recently that traditional circumcision is being conducted in areas outside Rundu, putting young boys and men at health risk.

The ministry of health has confirmed some cases have been reported, adding that a certain man was found circumcising boys and men at a fee at Mazana and Mavanze villages in Kavango East. This practice is also in other villages in the two Kavango regions.

“Our fear is that the person performing these circumcisions may use the same blade on all his clients and they will all be at risk of contracting diseases. Young boys get traumatised as they are cut without being sedated or without the use of anaesthesia,” said Ngwira. 

“Traditional circumcision is very dangerous if not performed properly as it can lead to a lot of complication such as the transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS when instruments used are not being thoroughly sterilised.” 

Ngwira noted that there are cases where these young boys are brought to the hospitals due to infections and when their cuts have not healed properly.

“When they fail, only then they are brought to the hospital, the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision program (VMMC) is there to support the traditional rituals in a way that this young men don’t get infections when they are cut through the traditional process and they can later go home and proceed with their rituals.

At least that way they cannot contract diseases as in most cases they use the same blade that is not sterilised to cut several young men,” she added.

“That is why we are going into communities with our health education program to educate people on some of these things. Yes, we have been receiving complains that we take long to visit some of the areas but this is due to a lack of human resources since we only have one team for all the two Kavango regions.

However, we urge people to wait for our teams or make an effort to visit the hospitals in town because it is safe to be circumcised at the hospital than home,” she said.

The  VMMC is very safe compared to the tradition method as patients are also tested for HIV/AIDS before being circumcised while the traditional process does not follow certain protocols.

According to the ministry of health in Kavango East, last year alone, more than 3 000 boys/men aged 15 years and older were circumcised in both Kavango East and Kavango West, under the national voluntary male circumcision programme.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (Unaids) recommended the implementation of VMMC programmes in countries with a high HIV prevalence as the practice is believed to reduce female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by 60 percent.

2019-06-04  John Muyamba

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