Saturday, November 16, 2013

ZIMBABWE: Babies to be circumcised as mothers die

November 10, 2013

Zimbabwe Buys Into Controversial Israeli Style Circumcision

At at time when government is struggling to provide bath and drink water for women in maternity wards across the country, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has embarked on an expensive and controversial Israeli style pilot programme to circumcise young boys a few days after being born under the hope of stopping the spread of HIV AIDS.

This comes as women were being told to bring their own water to bath soon after giving birth as they were informed the hospitals have no money to drill boreholes; a time when the latest statistics reveal that at least 1000 pregnant women die in every 100 000 pregnant women in Zim hospitals because of inadequate money.

The ministry’s program will see over 500 babies between the ages of 10 and 60 days in Harare being circumcised voluntarily at the government’s own expense.
[There is no evidence that infant circumcision has any effect on HIV. And of course, no baby ever volunteers for anything.]
The state media reports that the programme is meant to assist Government in determining the best age at which to start conducting male circumcision, which is said to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV by approximately 60percent albeit amid protest from other independent practitioners that this is untrue.

MoHCC male circumcision co-ordinator Dr Sinokuthemba Xaba said ... “Parents are the ones who are giving us the consent to circumcise their boys using the accucirc method,” he said.

“When phase one of the pilot program was initiated last year in December we set a target of circumcising 150 babies using two methods which were the accucirc and morgan clap [Mogen clamp] methods. [Never mind that the Mogen clamp is no longer made in the USA after the Mogen Company went bankrupt, having lost millions in lawsuits to the families of boys who lost parts of the heads of their penises in Mogen clamps.]

“After reaching the target in May this year, the assessment clearly showed that most parents preferred the accucirc method which is why we have embarked on the second phase of our pilot programme.

“We now want to see the strength and weakness of the most preferred method, parents’ responses to the method, their suggestions and also how nurses can handle the procedure.”

Dr Xaba noted that the results of the programme will determine whether the ministry will continue circumcising newborn babies.

“A complete waste of money”
The move by the ministry comes amid criticism from senior practitioners such as Dr Timothy Stamps who says that the very same studies undertaken on circumcision on which the United Nations body relies upon had on the contrary proven that countries such as the US with a higher number of circumcised men had a high HIV prevalence rate.

“Instead of channelling funds towards circumcision, the money must be used to save pregnant mothers who die in huge numbers in this country,” he said.

“When we are losing 960 mothers for every 100 000 pregnancies, should circumcision be a priority?” Stamps added.

Other investigations have have found that circumcised men actually contracted HIV after going through the surgical procedure.

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