SAfrica sees rise in post-circumcision deaths

June 30, 2010 By ERIC NAKI , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- South African health officials said Tuesday they are alarmed by the rise in deaths among men who have had botched traditional circumcisions, after 39 young men died in the last month after undergoing the rite of passage into manhood.

Health officials estimate that as many as six young men have died every weekend in the past few weeks and that more than 120 young men are in hospitals nursing their botched wounds. Eastern Cape provincial health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the practice is common in the province.

Eighteen-year old boys generally undergo circumcision rites during school holidays, in midyear or at the end of the year. The procedure is performed outdoors by a traditional leader who uses a spear to remove the foreskin.

The custom has drawn criticism because the circumcision is generally performed by unqualified traditional leaders in unsanitary conditions. Health officials say there is a high risk of infection, which can lead to amputation or even death.

Kupelo said 91 newly circumcised men died last year alone, and of those 56 occurred during midyear school holidays. He said five traditional surgeons have been arrested since the beginning of June. He said the government in the Eastern Cape has prohibited the practice in some areas where circumcision deaths have been particularly high.

National health department chief Precious Matsoso said the health department considered the situation to be "unacceptable."

She added, "While we accept and respect the right of people to practice their traditions, this has to be done within the context of acceptable health norms and standards so that we can prevent such deaths."

Circumcision is practiced in several communities in South Africa, and also across Africa. The practice has gained popularity in previous years because scientists think circumcision reduces the chances of because the foreskin is particularly susceptible to HIV.

AIDS experts from the have said mass could prevent about 4 million adult HIV infections between 2009 and 2025.

shares

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Changes in young people's sexual practices over the last 20 years revealed

November 20, 2017
Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study describes changes in young people's sexual practices using nationally-representative data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), the ...

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.