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Circumcision Kills

June 30, 2010

Circumcision kills men too.  I know it’s not something that people like to talk about, but reports are now being publicized that directly link circumcision with death, in men:

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.

What is it about circumcision that people can’t let go of?  It hasn’t been shown to help overwhelmingly in areas of health, and in fact can kill.  Circumcision no longer needs to replace basic hygiene standards, so why continue to do it?

In a post I wrote today, you can also see where the American Academy of Pediatrics has been drawn into the “traditional medicine” miasma of misinformation by declaring that perhaps American doctors should take part in female genital mutilation, with legal immunity, of course, based on hearsay that perhaps FGM is being done in other countries.  What’s the stranglehold of circumcision all about?

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