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News items are copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)
- thanks to Joseph4GI
CrazyNews 24 (Zimbabwe)
Clinic cuts off boy's little manhood during circumcision
ZIM: What started as a simple surgical procedure went horribly wrong for a 12-year-old Bulawayo boy after his penis was also cut off during circumcision.
The nightmare unfolded at the new Lobengula Circumcision Clinic on Thursday last week.
Sources at the clinic yesterday told Bulawayo24 News that the doctor was supposed to hold only the foreskin and cut it off; "But somehow nipped off the head of the penis as well. Although the boy was under local anaesthetic, he screamed as blood gushed out of his organ."
"On realising his gory mistake, the doctor arranged for an ambulance to rush the child to hospital as he battled to stem the copious bleeding," said a source.
The boy is admitted at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where the cut off organ has been sewn back on.
A source at UBH said while he was in stable condition, it was too early to know if his penis would be normal again.
His father, who identified himself as A Sibanda said he was devastated by the gruesome incident.
"This could be a one in a million case and I am crushed in spirit. We are waiting for a specialist doctor from Harare to look at him. We will then sit down as a family and decide on the next step," said Sibanda.
Population Services International (PSI) spokesperson Paidamoyo Magaya was unreachable for comment. PSI sponsors the circumcision drive in Zimbabwe. Removal of the foreskin is believed to reduce chances of one contracting HIV by as much as 60 percent.
Man who learnt nothing ...
Clarion Ledger (Mississippi)
Man who lost penis in circumcision circumcises own son
by Emily Le Coz
Space constraints in the newspaper limited how much I could write about the man whose reconstructed penis allowed him to father a child naturally. [No, artificially.] ...
... even though Mike Moore lost his penis because of a tragic circumcision accident, he decided to circumcise his infant son (who is now 6 months old).
Mike "was nervous about having him circumcised," his wife, Heather said, "but there was no cutting involved – just a little plastic ring that goes around him and then it just falls off."
The procedure went smoothly, and everyone is happy and healthy and in tact. [sic]
Speaking of botched circumcisions, here are the court documents related to a case almost identical to Moore's where a 2-year-old boy lost his penis after a laser-cut circumcision. (Moore was 7 when he lost his.)
The Jewish Daily Forward
New York City Stonewalls Forward on Metzitzah B'peh Circumcision Regulations
Babies Are Sickened - But City Won't Give Info
by Paul Berger
It’s been more than one year since New York City announced a new regulation to protect infants from contracting herpes during metzitzah b’peh, a controversial circumcision rite that many ultra-Orthodox mohels employ.
Since then, two babies in the city that were subjected to MBP, as the rite is known, have been infected with the herpes virus, and as the Forward reported in March, one of the city’s leading mohels continues to flout the law.
But the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has refused to respond to multiple requests from the Forward for basic information about how, or if, it is implementing its regulation.
The department’s regulation requires mohels to seek written parental consent before performing MBP, in which the mohel’s lips are placed on the infant’s penis to suction blood from the circumcision wound.
The city has not responded to questions that the Forward sent via email eight times between March 27 and April 22. Nor has the city responded to four phone messages left between April 9 and April 22.
In its queries, the Forward sought to learn what, if anything, the health department is doing to enforce its own rule after Rabbi Avrohom Cohn, a leading mohel, told the Forward that he refuses to comply with it.
Cohn, who is chairman of the American Board of Ritual Circumcision, told the Forward in March that he performs MBP in the city on a regular basis.
But he said that he would never seek parental consent, because he believes it is an infringement of his religious liberties.
He called the claim that MBP poses a risk to infants a blood libel.
After publishing Cohn’s statement, the Forward asked the health department, “In light of Rabbi Cohn’s statements and actions, will the [health department] be taking action to try to prevent more cases of MBP-related herpes and/or to enforce its consent form rule?”
But the department will not respond.
Under the new regulation, mohels must keep signed copies of the forms for one year.
The health department has previously said that it has never sanctioned or fined a mohel for failing to comply with the consent form rule.
But the department will not say whether it has ever checked if mohels are complying with the rule. To do so, it would simply ask mohels who practice MBP for copies of signed forms they have collected.
The Forward filed a request in February, under New York State’s Freedom of Information Law, asking whether the health department had ever requested such forms and, if so, how many forms it had asked for. The Forward also wanted to see redacted copies of such forms.
The city responded by refusing to confirm or deny whether it had ever asked for such forms. The city added that if such forms did exist, because of privacy concerns they could not be released.
Before he became mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio blasted city agencies for failing to respond to Freedom of Information requests.
“We have to start holding government accountable when it refuses to turn over public records to citizens and taxpayers,” de Blasio said when he was public advocate, in April 2013.
The Forward appealed the city’s decision March 26.
Under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, the city was required to respond within 10 business days of receiving the appeal. It failed to do so, and more than 20 business days later has yet to respond.
Polysurgery addiction by proxy...
Malawi News Agency
Double knifed to fulfill the needful
by Josephine Chinele
Blantyre, April 23: Even though his son had gone through the traditional male circumcision, Geoffrey Linje, a Manase resident was not satisfied.
“During our time, the traditional circumcision was okay but nowadays, it’s fashionable to have both,” he said, whilst waiting for his 11 year old son who was having the second time circumcision procedure inside the make shift theatre at Namasimba primary school in Blantyre.
Linje recalls that during his youthful days, anyone who was not circumcised was regarded as a toddler even if they grew up and raised a family.
World Health Orgsanisation describes Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as the surgical removal of the foreskin- the retractable fold of tissue that covers the head of the manhood.
It is believed that traditional male circumcision rite is not fully done hence other people like Linje are taking their children to have VMMC.
The father of six children, two of whom are boys proudly says the first boy also had two circumcisions and this makes him feel better.
“The first circumcision is like a mere transition from a ‘toddler’ to a fully grown adult. Now with the advent of many diseases, it’s very necessary that such children should also have medical male circumcision,” he elaborates.
Linje is however quick to say he did not know of any VMMC campaign until his 11 year old boy told him that he heard from ‘chimkuza mawu’ (Mobile Public Address system) which was going around their area announcing the same.
He points out that VMMC reduces a man’s chance of contracting HIV and helps in hygiene of the individual.
Linje’s child is one of the many youths that expressed interest in VMMC at Namasimba mobile clinic.
Site supervisor, Jofirisi Jofirisi says the centre circumcised an average of 25 youths per day from April 9 to April 15, 2014.
“I believe adults are not forthcoming because of perception. May be they think they are already married and no longer need VMMC. The youth may be coming because they want to fit among their peers,” he says.
Nevertheless, Jofirisi reveals that all youths who present themselves for VMMC are tested for HIV, counseled and clearly told that VMMC is not an HIV vaccine.
“We also advise them to take a lot of fluids so that they should have frequent urination to avoid erection since this could disrupt the healing process and increase bleeding on the stitched area,” he says.
World Health Organisation says there is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent.
[Except in the real world:]
“Male circumcision provides only partial protection, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package which includes: the provision of HIV testing and counseling services; treatment for sexually transmitted infections; the promotion of safer sex practices; the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use,” reads the information in part.
[ A traveller came to a farmhouse and offered to make the occupants Nail Soup in return for a night's shelter. He threw a large iron nail in a pot of boiling water, but said: -
"A Magic Nail provides only partial soup-making power, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive soup-making package which includes: vegetables; meat; herbs; stock; the provision of pepper and salt and spices and promotion of their correct and consisten use," he said in part.
The farmer's wife accepted this, and in the morning the traveller went on his way, refreshed after a night in a comfortable bed, minus the Nail, with some gold coins in his pocket and the thanks of the family ringing in his ears for the wonderful Magic Nail that made such delicious Nail Soup.
Thus if a circumcised man doesn't get HIV, circumcision will get the credit, but if he does, he can be blamed for failing to take the other precautions. And if a non-circumcised man gets HIV, his foreskin will be blamed, but if he doesn't, nobody will take any notice.
Circumcision is as good at preventing HIV as a Magic Nail is at making soup.]
PSI Community Counselor responsible for Blantyre Manyowe, Chikondi Magalasi, says many people still do not know the difference between VMMC and traditional circumcision.
“I have at least encountered situations where people decided to take their children for VMMC even after they had the traditional one like the case of Mr. Linje,” he says.
Magalasi says to some extent, ‘Angaliba’ (Traditional circumcision surgeons) are feeling threatened by the coming in of VMMC since they think it may take away their source of income and public respect.
“VMMC is not only cultural but a must-have for today’s man. Women should also take a role by encouraging their spouses to go for it since one benefit of VMMC is that when a man is circumcised, they don’t carry the Human Papaloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer to their spouses,” he elaborates. [That is completely false]
Another Community Counselor responsible for Nancholi, Jonathan Dinesi says it is pleasing to note that some parents have been taking their children to have VMMC even if they already had the traditional one.
“I have personally met three of such children aged between 10 and 15. It takes an understanding parent to do that,” he says. [Misunderstanding, rather.]
Ministry of Health’s deputy spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe says the fact that other parents are taking their children for VMMC even after the traditional rite is an indication that people understand the VMMC concept. [Or rather, that they don't. Especially "voluntary".]
“The message, however, still stands that VMMC is a supplement to all other HIV prevention measures not a vaccine therefore people should still observe abstinence and condom use,” he emphasizes.
Chikumbe says the ministry is trying to work together with ‘Angaliba’ so that they should be arranging for the initiated boys to have VMMC at a medical facility then take them back to their initiation camps so that their job is not compromised. [Oh dear, heaven forbid that their jobs should be compromised?]
[The three trials on which the claims for "Voluntary" Medical Male Circumcision are based were held because of claims that traditionally-circumcised men were less likely to have HIV. Now nobody seems to think they do.]
Citizen News (Kenya)
Parents In Botched FGM To Be Charged With Murder
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko has directed that murder charges be preferred against the parents and the person who was carrying out the circumcision of the 13 year old girl who died after a botched FGM operation in Kajiado County.
The father of the deceased girl, his two wives and the the person who was carrying out the circumcision are expected in court today, Tuesday to answer to the murder charges a week after the death of the girl.
The 13 year old girl lost her life after excessive bleeding.
The parents of the girl then tried to bury her secretly but were stopped by the local chief.
Area assistant Chief Shadrack Mututua also rescued three other girls who had run away to evade the cut during the incident last week.
Medical miracle: Man with reconstructed penis fathers a child after suffering a botched circumcision when he was seven
by David Mccormack
A man who suffered a botched circumcision operation when he was a small boy has achieved medical history by becoming the first person to conceive a child with a reconstructed penis. [... except that he did no such thing.]
Mike Moore, 30, from Mississippi and his wife become the proud parents of young Memphis six months ago.
For Moore, who had spent years fighting depression and witnessed his first marriage collapse as a consequence, the birth of his first child was something that for a long time he didn’t think would ever happen.
‘The one thing I wanted most in this world was a family, and I didn't think it was going to happen - to have kids, to have a wife who loves me for who I am. It wasn't going to happen, not to me,’ Moore told SF Gate.
‘Then on Oct. 4, 2013, we had Memphis, and I love that little boy with all my heart,’ he said.
The family recently travelled 2,200 miles from their home in rural Mississippi to Palo Alto, California, to proudly introduce young Memphis to the surgeon who had done so much to change Moore’s life for the better.
Dr. Gordon Lee, specializes in reconstructive plastic surgery at Stanford Medical Center, and successfully operated on Moore in 2007.
‘His story is, as far as I know, a first in the world for a totally reconstructed penis to go and have a baby,’ Dr Lee told NBC Bay Area.
When Moore was just seven years old doctors discovered he had an infection that was preventing him from urinating properly. [As usual, they probably caused the infection by premature forcible retraction]
A routine [no, "therapeutic"] circumcision was advised, but the procedure was botched and doctors were forced to amputate.
Then seven years ago, he met Dr. Lee after his uncle saw a news story about the surgeon’s work.
Moore had already undergone three failed attempts at reconstruction surgery, but after speaking with Dr Lee, he decided to give it another go.
The doctor was able to successfully reconstruct Moore’s penis using tissue from his thigh. It was only the second time Lee had ever performed the surgery.
Even then Moore’s troubles weren’t immediately solved. He first marriage broke down not long after the surgery.
‘She (his first wife) couldn't even deal with the sight of what it looked like after Dr. Lee repaired it,’ said Moore. ‘That was a major contribution to her leaving as well.’
Then in 2011, Moore met his current wife, Heather, now 25.
‘She accepted me for who I was, and not for what was wrong with me,’ said Moore. ‘She continues to this day to assure me that there's nothing wrong.’
The couple soon married, and decided to try for a baby.
After so many medical procedures, Moore had wanted to do it naturally, but after several months without success they visited a fertility doctor in early 2013.
He recommended artificial insemination using Moore's sperm and a month later they were celebrating Heather's pregnancy.
'If the story can help anybody, I want anybody who had to go through what I went through to know it’s possible to have a child,' he said. [Nobody "had to go through" what he went through. The whole disaster could have been avoided by leaving his body alone.]
The couple are currently planning for another child and are hoping for a girl this time.
Daily News (Botswana)
Ministry introduces SMC device for infants
The Ministry of Health has introduced two new devices for infants’ Safe Male Circumcision (SMC).
The SMC national coordinator, Mr Conrad Ntsuape said the two devices were the best that Botswana opted for. He noted that the entire procedure was bloodless, requiring no anesthesia, suturing or a sterile setting.
Mr Ntsuape said the median time for complete healing was seven days after device removal. The devices Mogan Clamp and AccuCirc would be administered on children from zero to two months, eight hours after birth. Circumcision would be done on physically fit babies with no signs on abnormality weighing more than 2.5 kg and a penis of at least one centimetre.
He said the two devices were safe and effective for nonsurgical male circumcision without anesthesia or sterile settings. The distinction between the two devices is that the Accucirc is disposable while the Mogan Clamp is useful in mass circumcision programmes particularly in resource-limited setting. The disposable component of it is the razor blades.
[The Mogen has caused several serious botches, resulting in the Mogen company losing lawsuits and going bankrupt and out of business. The Accu-circ has had no impartial field trials. It chops the foreskin off out of sight, with no knowledge of how the cut will turn out - or whether it will be complete. The word "Safe" is deeply ironical here.]
He said the decision to adopt the two devices followed a lengthy consultation process that focused on acceptability of infant male circumcision as part of HIV prevention and male reproductive health efforts that was conducted by the governments of Botswana and United States through Harvard Institute in 2008. The survey was also done on the acceptability of infant male circumcision among mothers of newborn male infants in Botswana.
Mr Ntsuape said the results of the survey indicated that 96 per cent of mothers in Botswana accepted early infant circumcision while the remaining four per cent were undecided or not interested. He also said infant circumcision was long overdue because Botswana was among 14 periotic [sic] countries in Africa that should scale up safe male circumcision for both children and adults.
The uptake of SMC follows a study by the World Health Organisation that had shown that such countries have high HIV prevalence and low SMC uptake. [There is every reason to suppose that in Botswana, as in Lesotho and Swaziland, circumcised men are as likely as intact men - or more likely - to have HIV.] Twenty five infants have so far been circumcised in the past two weeks at Princess Marina, Nyangabwe and Bamalete Lutheran hospitals.
He said training was conducted on midwife nurses and doctors. ... ENDS
Somaliland: 'I’m a Cutter and I’ll Take a Razor to My Daughter in the Holidays'
by Marin Bentham
Somalilandsun - The Somali cutter sat with her 10-year-old daughter beside her and explained calmly why she will take a razor blade to her this summer. "I am a circumciser," she declared. "This young one I haven't circumcised yet, but my other daughters are circumcised. I will circumcise her in the school holidays in June or July.
"I believe that she will not get married if I don't circumcise her. At the same time, it is important for me because I'm a circumciser and people will not trust me if I don't do it with my own daughter. It would be shameful. They would say, 'you are doing it to our daughters, but you are not doing it to your own'. I will also do it for cultural reasons because people will talk otherwise and say she has not been circumcised."
The logic of Khadija Geedi, a 50-year-old cutter in Somaliland, appeared flawless but her seeming indifference to the pain she will inflict on her daughter Fihiima was unsettling, as the pair sat together on the floor of their home in the rural village of Baki. As Ms Geedi explained, however, the bloody procedure that she will carry out on Fihiima this summer is a routine task to which she has become inured after a career as a "traditional birth attendant" lasting three decades.
"I started doing this when I was 20 and I can't calculate how many I have done," she says, adding that her price for cutting is $15 a time. On average now I do 10-15 a month, but sometimes it can be 30 or 35. ...
"I use a blade, some material to stop the bleeding and some local anaesthetic. I go to the local health centre to get them. Before I used to remove all the clitoris and all the labia, major and minor, and sew them. Now I only remove the clitoris. I changed about 10 years ago."
Ms Geedi says her decision to switch to the less extensive type of mutilation, known as "sunna" in Somaliland, followed a move by clerics to revise their religious guidance and declare the alternative "pharaonic" form as contrary to Islam.
"When I heard the sheikhs say that it is forbidden to do the pharaonic type I stopped, but I still do the sunna one. In Islam, that is okay — it says that we can do that," she said.
By contrast, efforts by the Somaliland government, local campaigners and aid organisations such as the charity World Vision to emphasise the damaging health consequences of mutilation have had no impact.
Neither does she worry about inflicting pain on her clients' daughters, insisting that her need to earn a living must prevail. [Well, she's honest.]
"The health workers gave us health advice about FGM," she said, "but I don't feel any trouble doing it because it is my profession. Although I know the girl is feeling pain, it is my profession and I am doing what the mother wants. I don't have any choice. I have no other way of earning a living. I need the money to live and pay for my family. So how can I feel for the girl?"
Ms Geedi says the cutting should take about half an hour but admits that resistance frequently means it can last longer.
"Typically, the girls are aged 10 or 11. The youngest I have done was six years old," she said. "It usually takes about 30 minutes if the girl doesn't struggle. If she does then we call lots of people to help the mother and relatives try to force her to be still. Mostly the girls are not accepting this so they start to move around."
Her determination to continue in her job is clear and with the law in Somaliland still allowing cutting, the main hope of campaigners against mutilation lies with the country's clerics.
They began reassessing five years ago what Islam says about FGM. Opinion now, while united in opposition to extensive cutting and sewing, is divided between those who advocate supposedly minor "touching" with a blade and a minority who support leaving girls entirely unharmed.
Sheikh Elmi Ismail Mohamed, who preaches in the Somaliland town of Borama, said he believed girls should have only a "small" cut to the clitoris, which he claimed would not amount to FGM, and added he was determined to prevent more severe mutilation.
"FGM was traditional and people used to practise a very bad kind, the pharaonic type, which involves lots of cutting and destroying," he said.
"Now Islamic scholars are talking about another kind, sunna circumcision, which we can't call FGM because it involves only a very small cut to the edge of the clitoris. It is very little, it is not mutilation, it is not destroying."
He added: "It is not painful, it is not harming and it is better religiously. That is what is written in our religious books. Any cutting or destroying is very bad religiously, but this is not doing that. I preach in the mosque. People think it is shameful to talk about these things, but sometimes I talk about it and give them this message."
Sheikh Elmi added that some parents, particularly in rural areas, believed that extensive "pharaonic" mutilation was necessary to "protect" their daughters "from being sexually active". He said he told them instead that such cutting was "wrong and harmful".
The small "sunna" cut to the clitoris advocated by Sheikh Elmi would still amount to a crime under British law, however, and is regarded as FGM by campaigners in Somaliland and elsewhere.
But another cleric, Sheikh Farah Jama, said that while "sunna" cutting was "optional", he favoured leaving girls untouched.
He added: "We are starting to reduce the number of FGM cases. We discovered that both in sharia law and culturally it is against what it means to leave a person as Allah created her."
"I tell parents that as Allah created the woman, every organ is important. If someone has lost an organ it is important."
Sheikh Farah said he would not allow any mutilation of his daughter, aged three, and that he and other clerics took part in community meetings at which they used both religious and health arguments to persuade parents and cutters against FGM.
He added: "I'm not refusing sunna, it is optional, but I tell people not to go too far. For my girl I am not doing even sunna."
In the cutter's house, though, a mobile phone ring shows how much remains to be done. Ms Geedi laughs after answering, before revealing: "It was someone wanting to hire me." She adds that her next job is tomorrow. Meanwhile, her own daughter's genitals will meet the blade soon.
The Star (Kenya)
Narok chief suspended over FGM
by Kiplang'at Kirui
A chief in Narok South subcounty has been interdicted for allegedly allowing his two daughters and two neighbours to undergo the female genital mutilation.
Deputy county commissioner Stephen Nyakundi said chief Lekishon Moriaso of Maji Moto location was arrested on Monday and will appear in court.
The chief was arrested at his home when Nyakundi led the AP officers and county children officer Julius Ngoko and stormed the celebrations after the cut.
This comes a day after a 13-year-old girl was reported to have bled to death in Kajiado county after she was circumcised.
The girls aged between 14 and 16 were taken to Narok County Referral Hospital for treatment.
Malawi: Young Men Embracing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision [Older men, not so much]
by Brenda Nkosi
Blantyre - A visit to centres that are doing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in Blantyre revealed that patronage is mostly by young boys of between 10 to 25 years.
This corresponded with what Population Services International's Team Leader, Martha Kadyasichi at Chilomoni Centre said when a team of journalists visited the centre for observation on Tuesday.
"There are two reasons that could be contributing to the low turn up of older men as the exercise is encouraging men from 10 to 45 years old.
"There is the requirement to abstinence from copulation for 42 days after being circumcised and I think the other reason is because the process of VMMC involves V[oluntary ]C[ounselling and ]T[esting] which most men prefer to shun," said Kadyasichi. [So they are resisting finding out whether/that they are HIV-positive.]
Kadyasichi said men are very difficult to motivate which has been a setback in their turn up for the exercise.
A 40-year-old, Kristen Chazako, who escorted his 12 year-old son at Chilomoni Centre said he was yet to make the decision to be circumcised.
"I have just come to escort my son because he has asked me to come with him. I don't think I will get circumcised myself. The programme is good for young boys," said Chazako.
Government through the Ministry of Health introduced VMMC as one way of strengthening prevention of HIV.
However, VMMC is not a national programme ...
Is anyone surprised?
Is female participation in voluntary medical male circumcision of any value? Experiences from Uganda.
by John Byabagambi, MPH
Uganda adopted voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as part of its comprehensive HIV prevention strategy in 2009. From its inception, the service was designed to target males and most of the efforts were focused on ensuring that as many males as possible were circumcised. In December 2012, a PEPFAR interagency team conducted an external quality assessment for the Uganda program and found several quality gaps. ... there were various myths surrounding circumcision which led to negative outcomes, and we believed that, by engaging female partners, we could educate them about the process and improve outcomes for males undergoing the procedure. Some of these harmful myths include: having unprotected sex after circumcision promotes wound healing; a painless post-circumcision penile erection is an indication of complete wound healing; as a cleansing procedure, the first post circumcision sexual encounter should be with a partner that will never come into your sexual life again; and there are possibilities that lignocaine may affect penile function and the sooner these effects are tested after surgery through sexual intercourse, the better.
... Here is a service whose main goal is to reduce the chance of HIV transmission, but what is happening is that it’s leading to behaviors that greatly promote HIV transmission because it is promoting unprotected sexual intercourse for clients with fresh wounds, which act as a direct entry portal for the virus! The myths encouraging even males who have been faithful to their partners to have multiple sexual partners - a known risk factor for HIV transmission because of the belief that they need to “cleanse themselves.” Through discussions with staff and clients we learned that it was actually the female partners that were encouraging their male partners to have intercourse with other women so that they wouldn’t transmit the bad omen to them, the most common omen being that their foreskins would peel off.
Additionally, we heard complaints in which female partners were reluctant to allow their spouses to complete the mandatory six weeks of post-circumcision abstinence to allow complete wound healing. Some circumcised clients reported that when they would inform their partners about the period of abstinence, their female partners would think that their partners were cheating on them, and that it was untrue that they must abstain for that long.
Men aren't buying it....
Low uptake of male circumcision
by Feluna Nleya
ZIMBABWE has recorded a very low uptake of the voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) within and the country is failing to meet targets set every year, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.
Speaking at a workshop hosted by the Population Services International (PSI) in Bulawayo last week, Ministry of Health and Child Care Matabeleland South provincial medical director Rudo Chikodzore said the male circumcision programme was lagging behind set targets.
“We are trying to scale up on the circumcision programme as we are working against our targets,” Chikodzore said. “We have been able to achieve only 4,8% of the target and this means we still have a long way to go.”
Last year, Zimbabwe had targeted to circumcise at least 115 000 men, but only managed to have 112 869 men go under the knife.
In 2010, the target was 20 000, but 11 123 were circumcised. In 2011, 36 742 were circumcised against a target of 60 000, while in 2012 only 20 775 against a target of 80 000.
She said that high male circumcision should be able to turn around the high HIV prevalence.
“We should be able to avert 42% of new HIV infections through scaling up of MC between 2011-2015. If MC is scaled up, we will be able to avert 150 000 new infections,” Chikodzore said.
PSI director for VMMC Ngonidzashe Madidi attributed the low targets to men’s fears of the surgical procedure.
“Men have certain fears of the surgical procedure,” Madidi said. “Many men were shunning the programme because of it being surgical and men have the fear of injections. That is why there is a new method, the Prepex, where we use a device around the foreskin, thereby cutting blood supply to the end. The device is worn for seven days and is only used by adults of 18 years and above.”
Madidi said 161 men have undergone circumcision through the prepex method since March 31 this year.
PSI is using celebrities as brand ambassadors in order to lure more men to be circumcised. The ambassadors include Albert Nyathi who was circumcised last week, Jah Prayzah, Sulumani Chimbetu, Winky D and Fungisai Mashavave-Zvakavapano.
...so they do it to people who can't resist.
500 infants circumcised in government programme
THE Health and Child Care ministry has circumcised at least 500 infants in a pilot programme which started last year designed for young children before they become sexually active.
by Feluan Nleya
The ministry was working together with the Population Services International (PSI) on the programme.
PSI director for voluntary medical male circumcision Ngonidzashe Madidi said for the purposes of sustainability, they were studying the early infant male circumcision (EIMC) to ensure protective effect of male circumcision is sustained.
Madidi said they wanted EIMC to run parallel with the adult Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programme.
"Currently, EIMC is in a study phase and we are happy to say we managed to circumcise at least 560 babies successfully," Madidi said.
"The first training to do implementation was done in December 2012 and that saw at least 50 babies being successfully circumcised by doctors."
Madidi said there was also a programme to train midwives to be able to circumcise infants as they were the first to make contact with babies.
The programme has so far been introduced at Edith Operman and Mabvuku clinics in Harare.
"The programme by the midwives saw them successfully circumcising 331 infants using the AccuCirc device," Madidi said.
Madidi said they planned to scale up the programme after the pilot phrase and would be guided by the ministry in implementing it.
He said EIMC protected the infant from future infections such as HIV and bladder infections by 98% and 82% respectively.
[There is no evidence that infant circumcision has any effect on HIV transmission. These figures have been pulled out of the air.]
The World Health Organisation recommends neo-natal circumcision should be a component of prevention campaigns since it is less complicated than circumcision performed in young boys, adolescents or adults. [But it isn't. Any tiny mistake on a baby is magnified on the man he becomes. Genitally cutting a baby is ethically a very different matter from doing it to an adult volunteer.]
Daily Star (London)
Anni Dewani trial: Gunman 'needed the cash for tribal circumcision'
A GUNMAN shot dead Anni Dewani to pay for his ritual circumcision, it was claimed last night.
by Shekhar Bhatia
Her family say Xolile Mngeni was “ashamed” to have turned 25 without having the operation in line with tribal tradition.
Zulu boys are circumcised by the age of 18 and put through a gruelling regime as a right of passage.
But drug dealer Mngeni lived with his elderly grandmother and became stressed when friends discovered he had failed “to become a real man”.
The murder plot was suggested to him by taxi driver Zola Tongo.
Mngeni agreed because his share of the £1,400 hit fee would help pay for the circumcision and a three-month “initiation school” in the mountains.
Last night Anni’s uncle Ashok said: “We have been informed of Mngeni’s reasons for shooting her and it has made us as a family even more angry.
“I have since read about the Zulu tribal initiation ceremony and it is meant to make men out of boys.
“But Mngeni has a sick view of it all. He shot a defenceless young woman on her honeymoon and planned to use his blood money to make himself appear as a man.
“He is not a man. He is an evil human being or even an animal and I hope he rots for the rest of his life in jail.
“Any such circumcision could not cost that much in South Africa and it is shocking to think he killed somebody for those reasons.”
Zulu initiation ceremonies generally see young men forced into seclusion in the bush or mountains for around three months before undergoing circumcision and painting their skin with white clay. [This seems to be a description of Xhosa ceremonies. Zulu circumcision only goes back to 2009. It had been stopped by Shaka Zulu (1787–1828).]
Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder and jailed for life. He was also convicted of aggravated robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.
Tongo was jailed for 18 years and Mziwamadoda Qwabe got 25 years for the murder. All three men implicated Anni’s husband as having ordered her murder.
Millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani, 34, of Bristol, was extradited to South Africa last week and charged with his wife’s murder after a three-and-a-half year battle to remain in Britain.
Dewani is accused of ordering the hit on his new wife Anni, 28, who was shot in Tongo’s taxi in November 2010.
The Jerusalem Post
European committee of ministers backs circumcision
Decision elicits praise for repudiating PACE resolution equating the Jewish practice to mutilation.
by Sam Sokol
The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on March 19 repudiated an anti-circumcision resolution adopted last October by the body’s Parliamentary Committee (PACE), eliciting praise from European Jews on Thursday night, when they were informed of the decision.
The PACE resolution termed circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children” and suggested that member states ban the practice until children are “old enough to be consulted.” [Why the scare quotes? How is infant genital cutting not a violation of physical integrity, and what is scorn-worthy about waiting for informed consent?] PACE further urged member states to “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards.”
The resolution angered European Muslim and Jewish communities, as well as Israel and Turkey, all of which complained of religious coercion and intolerance.
Language in the PACE document that seemed to compare circumcision to female genital mutilation particularly angered Jewish groups, with the president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece calling it “a sign of anti-Semitism.”
The Committee of Ministers response panned the comparison between female genital mutilation and circumcision, calling the practices “by no means comparable.”
Female genital mutilation, the committee stated, “can in no way be put on an equal footing with practices such as the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons.”
The committee further stated that “for the present, further standard-setting work is not required” on issues relating to circumcision.
“Protection for children against the risks of non-medically justified operations and interventions is provided by existing international instruments, which address, inter alia, the participation of children in decisions concerning their welfare, and the role of their parents,” it explained. [And how much participation does a week-old child get in the "decision"?]
The Evening Standard
Bogus circumcision nurse who almost killed baby jailed
by Alexandra Rucki
A bogus nurse who carried out a circumcision on a baby boy and almost killed him has been jailed.
Taiwo Shittu, 55, of Atwood House, Dulwich, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm in relation to the incident which took place on November 23 last year.
Woolwich Crown Court heard the parents of the two month old boy arranged for Shittu, who they named as Ms Alhaja, to perform the procedure at their home in Plumstead and paid her £100.
But the baby boy was brought into the A&E department of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich by his parents concerned with the amount of blood he was losing.
Doctors examined the child and deemed his condition to be life threatening.
He was transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ for emergency surgery, where a team of plastic surgeons attempted to rectify the damage caused to his penis.
An investigation was launched shortly afterwards by specialist detective from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command launched an investigation.
Efforts to trace Shittu began immediately and she was arrested at an address in Dulwich in December.
Officers discovered medical paraphernalia at her home address, as well as hospital grade antibiotics and surgical scissors.
Shittu claimed she worked as a midwife and nurse in her native Nigeria and carried out circumcisions there and in the UK.
But police uncovered she was a fake and had no formal medical qualifications as a nurse or midwife in the UK.
She was sentenced to 30 weeks imprisonment.
Detective Sergeant Kam Sodhi said: "The care she provided in the course of the procedure was so bad that it not only put a very young baby in a life threatening condition but it amounted to a serious crime.
"This was a medical procedure which, like any other, carries a risk. She failed to properly manage it and because of this caused the baby a serious and permanent injury."
DSS loses motion to delay case of intersex child
Child indentifies himself as a boy, despite surgery to remove genitals
GREENVILLE, S.C. —A case that accuses the Department of Social Services and medical care givers of performing unnecessary sex-assignment surgery on an intersex baby will proceed.
The decision of the 5th Judicial Circuit Court to let the case continue means the defendants will have to defend their choice to castrate the baby, who has since grown into a healthy 8-year-old who identifies himself only as a boy, named in court documents as M.C.
“The court’s decision moves M.C. a step closer to justice,” said Kristi Graunke, Southern Poverty Law Center senior supervising attorney. “This ruling holds doctors accountable when they recommend such drastic and irreversible procedures for infants but fail to ensure caregivers are fully informed about the risks and options.”
M.C. was born with an intersex condition -- a difference in reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. When he was just 16 months old and in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors and department officials decided the child should undergo sex assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl.
“Our young client was profoundly harmed when doctors and state agents decided to remove his penis and testicles,” said Anne Tamar-Mattis, co-counsel from Advocates for Informed Choice. “We look forward to continuing the fight on M.C.’s behalf and to ensuring that no child ever has to undergo such life-altering surgeries without informed consent.”
The plaintiffs say DSS and medical staff made the decision even though there was no way of knowing at such an early age whether M.C. would grow up to be a male or female.
The lawsuit, filed by the child’s adoptive parents, claims the defendants did not even provide a hearing to determine whether the procedure was in M.C.’s best interests.
Named in the suit are the Department of Social Services, the Medical University of South Carolina, Greenville Health System and several other caregivers.
M.C. was born a premature twin at Greenville Memorial Hospital in November 2004. The biological parents would not take them home. One baby died. M.C. was abandoned in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Three months later, the Department of Social Services stepped in. Court records show the biological parents relinquished their rights.
Mark and Pam Crawford were looking to adopt a child with special needs. They would come to love M.C., but by the time they entered the picture, there was nothing they could do. The life-changing surgery was already done.
Pam Crawford said, "We looked at the situation, saw how adorable the child was, and said, 'We can do that.' It didn't really seem like such a special need to us."
Court records indicate that at birth, M.C. was identified as a male. During a reflux surgery, female organs were discovered. Doctors at the Greenville Hospital System concluded the baby was a "true hermaphrodite."
They referred the case to the Medical University of South Carolina where ultimately, sex re-assignment surgery was performed in April 2006 on the then 1-year-old.
"It's too late for my son, but we want to put other doctors on notice," said Mark Crawford who noted the action was "drastic and permanent."
The lawsuit says doctors, acting as agents of defendant hospitals, performed the surgery for the purpose of "assigning" the child the female gender despite their own conclusion that the toddler "was a true hermaphrodite but there was no compelling reason that she should either be made male or female."
The defendants decided to remove the child's healthy genital tissue and "radically restructure his reproductive organs in order to make his body appear to be female," the lawsuit states.
The suit filed in federal court alleges the defendants violated the child's right to privacy by deciding to go forward with the surgery. The state suit alleges medical malpractice and gross negligence.
Once the child was placed in state custody, the Department of Social Services was responsible for any and all medical decisions. By law, major surgery is something that should have gone all the way to the top.
Within months of M.C.'s surgery, the DSS director at the time, Kelly Aydlette, left her post. She's named in the lawsuit, along with DSS, four doctors and two hospitals.
According to court documents, the decision to turn M.C. into a girl never went before a judge.
No guardian was appointed. And it does not appear the doctors requested an ethical consultation.
Bioethicist Carmela Epright said, "I suspect strongly the reason this didn't go before a judge is because no one thought this was a hard question. They thought they had the answer."
"He wasn't sick in any way. What he was, was a problem from an adoption standpoint," Epright said.
That being said, Epright doesn't believe the Crawfords will win in court.
"When he started going to school, picking up friends, it was clear that he thought of himself as a boy," Pam Crawford said.
"It's not like he turned into a boy," she said. "He's the same exact child he's always been."
For the rest of his life, M.C. must live with a choice made for him by strangers. The only thing he got to choose was his new name.
The Crawfords hope his story will help other families understand that surgery isn't the only option.
"My greatest fear is that these things might keep happening, Crawford said, "My fear for him specifically is that he will hate his body."
Dr. William F. Schmidt, medical director of the GHS Children's Hospital, sent WYFF a statement saying, "A thorough review of the medical files will show that treatment this child received while under our care was consistent with the highest standards of medical practice and medical ethics." [Well he would say that, wouldn't he?]
AFP via Znews
China circumcision patient held over doctor's murder: Media
Beijing: A Chinese man "dissatisfied" with his circumcision is suspected of killing a doctor at the hospital where the operation was carried out, state media reported Wednesday.
Wang Fangli, who underwent the surgical procedure last week, stabbed Shan Erhui to death in the doctors' lounge of a hospital in Fengxian county in the eastern province of Jiangsu on Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency said.
It was not clear whether Shan was the doctor who performed the operation, or why Wang, 45, had it carried out. Circumcisions are not common in China.
"(He) was dissatisfied with the treatment outcome and the medical expenses," the report added.
Violence against medical staff in China has become increasingly common, with an average of one attack at hospitals every two weeks, state media said earlier this year.
The rise in violent incidents has been blamed on long waiting times and a perception that health care is expensive.
They're asking for trouble calling this age-restriction a "ban"
MPs support law proposed to ban circumcision
A draft law aimed at banning circumcision has received considerable support from the lawmakers in parliament, reported MTV.
Most of the members in the parliamentary Social Affairs and Health Committee supported the law.
More than half of the members extended their support to either imposing a ban or limiting circumcision.
Some expert ogranisations also supported the proposed law. Circumcision of boys is often associated with religion or culture.
In Finland, most hospitals have refused to carry out circumcision because of religious reasons.
Circumcisions at homes have been subject of suspected assaults. Some prosecutions have resulted to sentences while some have not.
What kind of mutilation leaves no trace?
Charges brought against London doctor in UK's first FGM prosecution
by Martin Bentham
The first British charges for female genital mutilation were announced today in a landmark decision by the country’s top prosecutor.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said two people, one a doctor, would appear in court charged with carrying out the crime at London’s Whittington Hospital in November 2012.
The alleged crimes involve the practice of “re-infibulation” in which the vagina of a woman previously subjected to FGM is sewn up again after giving birth to leave only a tiny opening.
Announcing today’s decision, Ms Saunders said: “The CPS was asked to consider evidence in relation to this allegation of female genital mutilation by the Metropolitan Police Service after it was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital, in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.
“Having carefully considered all the available evidence, I have determined there is sufficient evidence and it would be in the public interest to prosecute Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena for an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act.
“I have also determined that Hasan Mohamed should face one charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM, contrary to section 44(1) of the Serious Crime Act and a second charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring Dr Dharmasena to commit an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act .
“Dr Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 April. May I remind all those concerned that these individuals have a right to a fair trial and it is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
In decisions on four other cases, Ms Saunders said that there was insufficient evidence to justify a prosecution. She added that the introduction of anonymity for victims should now be considered to make it easier to bring charges in future cases.
She said the reason was that many victims were reluctant to testify in court - where their identities are currently made public - about such a “sensitive” part of their body.
She added: “Anonymity for victims of FGM is something that should be considered. It is a very difficult injury to talk about. It is an abuse of their body and it is not a part of the body that people want to talk about in public.”
The other case was referred to prosecutors by the Met in December and involved an allegation that two parents arranged for their daughter to undergo overseas a type of female genital mutilation involving a small pinprick.
The girl was examined and no physical evidence was found that the procedure had been performed, although this is not unusual for this type of mutilation. ...
FGM involves the removal of all or parts of the labia and clitoris, as well as sewing up the vagina. [Except when it doesn't] It can cause severe pain and long term physical and pyschological damage.
[This makes nonsense of the distinction between "bad" female genital cutting, when it may leave no trace, and "good" male genital cutting.]
MSN Health NZ
NZ academic questions circumcision study
A New Zealand academic says the authors of a study suggesting male circumcision has major health benefits have confused cleanliness with godliness.
The study of American data suggested half of uncircumcised men would contract an adverse medical condition caused by their foreskin during their life, and that the benefits of circumcision exceeded the risks by 100 to one.
Professor Brian Morris of the University of Sydney said infant circumcision should be regarded as equivalent to childhood vaccination, and as such it would be unethical not to routinely offer parents circumcision for their baby boy.
But Professor Kevin Pringle, the Professor of Paediatrics and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Otago in Wellington, says he found the paper extremely worrying.
Prof Pringle says the report quotes a more than 20-fold increase in the risk of penile cancer for uncircumcised men, but the figures didn't agree.
"In fact, the incidence of penile cancer in Israel (almost 100 per cent of males circumcised) is about the same as that in Scandinavia (circumcision the exception), suggesting that it is cleanliness, rather than godliness that is important," he said.
Prof Pringle said the authors overestimated the level of cases of two other conditions, phimosis and balanitis, and said 80 per cent of children with phimosis respond to the application of a steroid cream. Only a small percentage needed a circumcision.
Prof Pringle said the comparison with vaccination was inappropriate as most of the diseases for which infants are vaccinated are potentially lethal or produce significant handicap.
"Circumcision is an intervention with significant risks (ignored or minimised by the authors of this paper) to prevent problems that will not develop in the vast majority of males."
The Jewish Daily Forward
Rabbi Performs Controversial Metzitzah B'Peh Circumcision Rite - Law or No
by Paul Berger
After cutting off the infant’s foreskin, Rabbi Avrohom Cohn leaned down toward the baby boy who was cradled on a white pillow atop his grandfather’s knee.
Standing fully over the child, with his back to the dozens of immaculately dressed guests at the Syrian Jewish gathering in Brooklyn, it was impossible to see what Cohn did next.
Asked after the ceremony whether he performed the controversial rite metzitzah b’peh, also known as MBP, in which a ritual circumciser places his mouth on the baby’s genitals to suction blood from the circumcision wound, Cohn smiled and said, “I did what I had to do.”
If Cohn performed MBP without getting written consent from the infant’s parents, he broke the law.
It’s something he has done many times before.
For more than a year, ritual circumcisers, known as mohels, have been required to obtain written consent from parents before performing MBP.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene instituted the regulation in the fall of 2012 after a number of babies contracted herpes following MBP.
The department says that 14 infants have been infected in New York City since 2000. Two of those babies died, and at least two others suffered brain damage.
But Cohn, who performs MBP regularly, says he has never obtained consent from a parent, and he never will. “I don’t believe in it,” Cohn said of the consent form.
Cohn, 85, is no ordinary mohel — he is chairman of the American Board of Ritual Circumcision, and widely considered one of the top mohels in a very Jewish city.
In an earlier telephone conversation, Cohn told the Forward that MBP must be performed to fulfill the commandment of circumcision. He said that the only exception is if the rite puts an infant’s health at risk.
By this, Cohn did not mean the health of the infant in front of him at a bris. Cohn said the risk he feared was that the infant of a couple who are “not strictly observant” might transmit a disease to him via MBP — and that he could then transmit that disease to another infant.
“They could be drug users, they could be going to prostitutes and who knows what, and are infected with all kinds of diseases,” Cohn said, referring to nonobservant parents.
When a reporter from the Forward called the infant’s father after the circumcision, the father said that he was aware of the risks of MBP and that he had instructed Cohn not to perform it. “I didn’t allow him to do that,” the father said.
So what did Cohn actually do when he “did what I had to do”? Confronted with the father’s testimony, Cohn said that he had not, after all, performed MBP. But the reason, he said, had nothing to do with the father’s request; it was because the father did not seem observant enough. “That young man is out to have a good time,” Cohn said. “I don’t think he’s so careful who he has a good time with.”
This was not the only time that Cohn followed his own rules regarding MBP, at times even contradicting the expressed wishes of the parents.
Shortly before the Syrian circumcision ceremony began in Brooklyn, one guest remarked to another that he was at a circumcision recently where Cohn was asked not to perform MBP, but the rabbi refused to comply.
Meanwhile, the health department has issued two warnings since January 2013, related to two infants being infected with herpes following MBP.
Despite the two recent cases, the city has never sanctioned or warned a mohel for failing to comply with the consent form regulation.
Mohels are required to keep a copy of the signed forms for one year. But the city will not say whether it has ever enforced the law by asking a mohel to provide a signed copy of such forms.
The Forward recently filed a freedom of information request asking the health department whether it had ever requested signed forms from a mohel. The request also asked for copies of any such forms submitted with the names of family members redacted.
The health department denied both parts of the request. ...
But Cohn said that the city’s claims that MBP causes herpes are a “blood libel” and that he will never obtain written consent before performing MBP.
“Now I am here in America all these years, and I am terribly disappointed religion is being interfered with,” he said. “If they want me to go to jail, I will go to jail.”
The Borneo Post
Man hospitalised after circumcision by co-worker
KUCHING: A construction worker needed hospital treatment after he bled non-stop following a circumcision procedure performed by a co-worker early yesterday morning.
The 22-year-old, originally from Lubok Antu, is said to have been drinking with his co-worker in their quarters at a construction site in Batu Kawah around 1am when — for reasons unknown — he asked the latter to circumcise him.
Using a small blade, the co-worker went ahead and fulfilled his friend’s request but soon encountered difficulty when the victim’s penis began to bleed non-stop.
[This comes of circumcsion being misrepresented as "just a snip" of a "flap of skin".]
Left with no choice, the pair then called the Civil Defence Department, which duly despatched an ambulance to take the victim to the Sarawak General Hospital.
The newly-circumcised labourer is reportedly in stable condition following treatment at the hospital.
Russian Chief Rabbi calls circumcision opponents anti-Semites
by Sam Sokol
BUDAPEST- European attempts to ban circumcision and ritual slaughter are outright antisemitism, Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar stated Monday evening. Addressing a conference organized by the Rabbinical Center of Europe, the Chabad hasid blasted efforts to legally proscribe Jewish practices as continuing the work of the Nazis using different methods.
Opponents of the rites, which are currently under attack in several countries, “are trying to fight Judaism,” Lazar averred. “I’d even call them, sadly, anti-Semites.”
“I think that they dress it up in nice clothing but sadly what they are trying to do is again take away Judaism from the Jews. In the Holocaust it was done with force by killing, today they realize that death doesn’t work, they are trying to [attack] our souls.”
The call of the European Rabbinate should be to ensure a circumcision for every Jewish child, the Rabbi continued, calling such an effort the answer to anti-Jewish prejudice.
“I think the call of this conference, the call of our meeting, should be - we will do all that is possible that every Jewish child is going to be circumcised whether they like it or not we are going to fight till the end that not one [Jewish] child in Europe is going to left without circumcision,” Lazar implored the gathered Rabbis.
[So he plans to take the choice away from not only the boys and men, but also their parents? In other words, only he has the right to decide who shall keep all their genitals and who shall not.]
The end goal, he added, is to “rebuild the Jewish community in Europe even stronger than it was before the Holocaust and Communism.”
Since last January both Poland and Denmark have banned ritual slaughter without prior stunning. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a controversial resolution last October described circumcision as a “violation of the physical integrity of children.” While the resolution carried no legal weight, PACE recommendations carry a great deal of moral weight in Europe and prominent figures in several countries have issued calls to restrict the practice.
Norway's Nurses Campaign For Circumcision Ban [Age-restriction]
Health Minister says he doesn't plan to outlaw the practice
by Stephanie Butnick
While Norway announced plans to introduce anti-circumcision legislation in early 2014, so far no such bills have been brought forward. While the country’s health ministry says they will issue new guidelines before the summer—which Health Minister Bent Hoie maintains will not include outlawing the practice—a group of Norwegian nurses are pushing for a ban on non-medical circumcision for males under 15 years old.
JTA reports that the Norwegian Nurses Organization met with members of the health ministry to make their case for a country-wide ban on ritual circumcision, with the director of the group likening the practice to female circumcision and arguing that boys should be able to decide, at 15 or 16 years old, whether or not to undergo the rite.
Given the relatively low number of circumcisions that performed in Norway each year—a few months ago Aftenposten estimated the figure to be around 2,000 Muslim and just seven Jewish newborns annually—it’s hard to not see this as a religiously motivated campaign. The Norwegian Nurses Organization director essentially admitted as much, saying in an interview that though “the Jews are a small group in Norway, they have been allowed to influence the debate on this issue.”
[Since the nurses have no objection to voluntary adult religious circumcision, it is hard to see this as religiously motivated.]
The nurses’ request was met with deaf ears—for now. According to JTA, “In an interview for Aftenposten Wednesday, Health Minister Bent Hoie said his draft for the regulations proposes all circumcisions take place in hospitals but that he has no plans to ban the practice.”
Committee OKs bill banning female circumcision
PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona House committee has approved a bill outlawing female genital mutilation that's known as female circumcision.
The Committee on Judiciary unanimously approved Senate Bill 1342 on Thursday. The bill bars genital mutilation on girls under 18 and would make a first-time violation and conviction punishable by five to 14 years in prison and a minimum $25,000 fine.
Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Judy Burges of Sun City West says female genital mutilation is a problem that's beginning to appear in the United States.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously last month. It will now go to the House of Representatives.
Foreskin product poses health risk
The Wall Street Journal
Hagens Berman: Pharmaceutical Company SkinMedica Selling Misbranded Drug Products as Cosmeceuticals
Consumers today filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) and its pharmaceutical company subsidiary, SkinMedica, claiming that the companies have misbranded and unlawfully marketed Tissue Nutrient Solution (TNS), a skin-care product line containing human growth factors obtained from human foreskin tissue which could increase the risk of cancer and pose other health risks, according to the complaint filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLC.
The lawsuit, filed by consumer-rights law firm Hagens Berman in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that for at least the past four years, SkinMedica has failed to disclose significant safety concerns associated with TNS products while marketing the products without appropriate government approval, proper labeling, or adequate safety studies.
"A healthcare company's primary obligation must be to deliver products that are properly tested for safety, and meet all the appropriate regulatory requirements," said Steve Berman, attorney for the plaintiffs and managing partner of Seattle-based Hagens Berman. "In this case, we intend to show that SkinMedica and Allergan skirted laws that required them to disclose the significant safety concerns at issue and the lack of regulatory approval."
"We believe that in SkinMedica's zeal to market its skin care products, it created a serious health risk for those who used TNS products," Berman added.
According to the firm's investigation, SkinMedica's TNS products, which have been sold nationally through doctors' offices and retailers, contain a proprietary mix of "human growth factors" derived from human foreskin tissue. Human growth factors are intended to mobilize, stimulate, or otherwise alter the production of cells, including the ability to initiate cell division, which could stimulate growth of cancerous tumor cells, according to the complaint.
The suit alleges that in marketing their TNS products, Allergan and its subsidiary SkinMedica did not adequately disclose the health risks associated with these growth factors.
SkinMedica's TNS products -- which the company calls "cosmeceuticals" -- did not have government approval and could not be sold lawfully in the U.S. without such approval, something else the company did not disclose to consumers, according to the complaint. The suit alleges that because neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor the California Department of Public Health found TNS products to be safe for their intended use, and because TNS products omit required disclosures relating to safety concerns, the products have been misbranded under both federal laws and parallel state laws.
The lawsuit is a proposed class action based upon California's consumer protection laws, and seeks to represent a class of all persons in the U.S. who purchased SkinMedica's TNS products during the last four years.
Concerned consumers are encouraged to contact Hagens Berman by emailing SkinMedica@hbsslaw.com or calling 206-623-7292.
The Local (Norway)
Norway [Minister wants] to mandate hospital circumcision
Norway's Health Minister Bent Høie will propose that hospitals take the lead in carrying out ritual circumcisions on Jewish and Muslim baby boys, when the results of a government consultation are passed to the country's parliament for discussion in the coming weeks.
"If the children are circumcised in hospitals by competent personnel, we will prevent complications," Høie told Aftenposten newspaper. "This is the most realistic way to ensure the little guys against damage. All the other proposals risk exposing the boys to injury."
[Circumcision is injury, and hospital circumcision can only reduce, not prevent, complications.]
Høie stressed that his government had never considered an outright ban on circumcision, despite scare stories late last year in the Israeli and diaspora Jewish media.
"A ban on something that is so common for religious or cultural reasons would not be for the good of the children," he argued.
[Many evils were once common for religious or cultural reasons, before they were stopped.]
He estimated that some 2,000 ritual circumcisions would be carried out in Norwegian hospitals annually, and said that the government had yet to decide who would bear the cost.
Anne Lindboe, Norway Children’s Ombudswoman last year called for circumcision to be banned on boys under the age of 16.
“This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky,” she argued.
Circumcision goes wrong
A man practicing circumcision without authorisation skinned the genitals of a little boy by mistake during a circumcision operation in the Gulf Kingdom.
Doctors treating the baby found that the wound caused by that man needs a long time to be healed and could affect his virility in the future.
“The wrong circumcision operation performed by that man caused the baby to totally lose the skin of his genitals. He was rushed to hospital for treatment but doctors said the wound could affect his marriage life when he grows up,” Okaz daily said in a report from the northern town of Turaif.
Metro News (Vancouver)
Vancouver activists to protest 'foreskin enemy #1' Bill Gates at TED
by Emily Jackson
Foreskin advocates plan to protest Bill Gates for funding circumcision programs in Africa when the Microsoft founder speaks at the Ted Talks conference in Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project hopes to label Gates as “foreskin enemy #1” for donating millions to circumcision programs in 14 countries to reduce the risk of HIV transmission, according to an event posting on Facebook.
Project founder Glen Callender calls into question the research that claims male circumcision reduces transmission of the virus. (There is “compelling evidence” it reduces heterosexual infections in men by about 60 per cent, according to the World Health Organization.)
“Soon it will be obvious that circumcision gave these men false confidence, not effective protection,” Callender said in the event posting. “Bill Gates is an intelligent man who certainly means well, but he really blew it this time.”
This isn’t Callender’s first time protesting the rich and famous over foreskin. He made headlines across North America last year when he protested Oprah for promoting face cream with ingredients derived from foreskin. (That particular product, SkinMedica, was derived from growth factors from a single donation [theft] of foreskin more than a decade ago.)
“If my foreskin and I don’t publicly challenge at least one world-famous pro-circumcision billionaire philanthropist each year, then we’re not doing our job as Canada’s premier man-foreskin circumcision-fighting team,” Callender said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donates millions annually to help the 33 million people around the world living with HIV. They fund research on an HIV vaccine, the delivery of anti-retroviral treatment and the development of ways to reduce transmission, including contraception and circumcision.
The protesters will gather around the Vancouver Convention Centre before Bill and Melinda Gates take the stage at 6 p.m.
Daily Astorian (Oregon)
Woman combats female mutilation
by Kathy Aney
Sometimes, tradition trumps reason.
That's how Rachael Tengbom sees the practice of female circumcision performed on young girls in her native Kenya. Tengbom, now a Kennewick, Wash., counselor, spoke to an audience at Blue Mountain Community College on Wednesday.
Tengbom, part of the Maasai culture, said only about two percent of girls escape circumcision in her tribe. Though the practice is illegal, the law is widely ignored.
"You can't be a woman without female genital mutilation," she said. "You go through this between 8 and 14. They don't use pain pills -- you have to face the knife like a woman."
Tengbom cited the World Health Organization, which reported that the ritual offers zero health benefits and causes disfigurement and other lasting problems.
"When you ask the Maasai why they put their daughters through this ritual, they say it's part of us," she said.
... The surgery is done en masse, she said, and usually with the same knife. Not surprisingly, the spread of AIDS is a common byproduct.
Girls don't receive much education and are expected to marry young. Circumcision is part of preparing for marriage, which is typically arranged and accompanied by a dowry of cattle. ...
Tengbom said the tradition is slowly changing through the efforts of multiple organizations, including her own, Voices of Hope. The group offers a safe house and funds education for Kenyan girls.
UN official says circumcision protected by freedom of religion
by Tovah Lazaroff
A United Nations official gave a boost to the battle Jewish organizations are waging to protect the ancient ritual of circumcision, when he told the Human Rights Council it was a right that should be protected.
“Freedom of religion and belief in its application goes far beyond any pre-defined lists of classical religions,” Heiner Bielefeldt said in Geneva on Wednesday. “It protects human beings in their broad variety of convictions, and also conviction-based practices. So issues like male circumcision are part of that.” [And human sacrifice?]
Bielefeldt, who is the UNHRC’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion, made his brief comment on circumcision one day after he delivered a global report to the council on freedom of religion.
The report did not deal with circumcision, but the World Jewish Congress discussed the issue when it addressed the council and Bielefeldt on Wednesday morning, in a statement delivered by Lisa Rahmani.
Rahmani, a member of the WJC’s Jewish Diplomatic Corps program, urged the council to protect Jewish male circumcision and shechita, ritual slaughter of animals. She added that religious Muslims who eat halal meat also needed protection for their ritual slaughter practices.
Shechita and circumcision are cornerstones of Jewish religious practice that date back thousands of years, Rahmani said.
“However, today we are witnessing an increasing number of government actions that seek to condemn and ban these religious practices,” Rahmani said. “We call on the special rapporteur to recognize that these practices are forms of religious expression, to recognize that they are not trumped by other values [... such as the human right to security of the person?], and to ask him to consider limitations on ritual slaughter and circumcision as violations of freedom of religion in his next report to the council.”
“In the same way, it is ironic and distressing to observe that circumcision is considered to be a mutilation when performed for religious reason, but is acceptable, and often encouraged, if performed for medical reasons,” Rahmani said.
[Is it "ironic and disressing" that hand amputation is considered to be a mutilation when performed for a religious reason, but acceptable and often encouraged when peformed for medical reasons, such as after serious burn or injury?]
Liberia: Circumcision Goes Wrong - 1-Yr-Old Loses Manhood [sic] to Cutting
Monrovia - Donors are pumping millions in the health sector of Liberia ... but the country's health sector continues to perform below par, not meeting the needs of the majority of the population.
In many towns and villages across Liberia, access to a nearby health center is difficult as people commute over long distances ...
Even in Monrovia, the capital city, the health situation is still dangerous with unskilled doctors and other medical practitioners attending to patients. Little, Phillip Zinnah, Jr., one year, seven months old, hope of becoming a father is at the verge of becoming impossible as he is the latest victim of unskilled medics. On a fateful Sunday afternoon, January 5, this year, Little Zinnah faced the shock of his life when a 'doctor' only identified as "Dr. Nimely" completely cut off his penis in an attempt to have him circumcised.
Phillip Zinnah, Sr. 25, father of the boy explained that he took his son to the TB Annex to one Dr. Nimley ... ["] I have been hearing about him and he told me he can do the work. He charged me 600 Liberian dollars [$US 7.00] to do the work right ... I been to majority of the hospitals and the doctors said the boy penis is damaged and we need to go for advance surgery out of the country".
Dr. Nimley is said to have abandoned his patient, an innocent child who is currently facing severe pain as he is unable to urinate, with a stomach swollen.
"The doctor has not made any move, all the hospitals we went, they said it was the Doctor error, but he continues to deny it, all the hospitals I have been going, he is not with me. When I call him on the phone, he can't come; he is not picking my call. Sometimes when I get him on the phone, he will make palava with me, he says if that is the way I want to take it, I should carry him to court, he has money to get lawyer", Zinnah lamented in an interview.
Police let him go
The father who crushes rocks for survival, says he reported the case to the Police, but while the police was preparing to send them to court, he could not allow his son bleed and cry while he goes to court.
"I carried the case to Zone Three, they fix a document for them to carry us to court, I look at the boy condition, it was worse at the time so I have been from hospital to hospital. I have been to JFK two different times, Catholic hospital the doctor said it is a hard work, ELWA, James Davis Hospital, Rennie, all say the work is hard. They say I should get to TB Annex and get documents from there and Annex will tell me which hospital to go. I went to TB Annex, I met the administrator, she said the Doctor did the work on his own under a secret. She says, they are not circumcising there so they do not know about it. Three persons doing the work, he Dr. Nimley, Pewee and ... .", Zinnah explained.
According to Zinnah, an administrator at the TB Annex told him sorry, but indicated that the Doctor who performed the operation should bear his own punishment. Zinnah said he was convinced by Dr. Nimley who claimed to have performed such operation for over 50 years in paying for his son to get circumcised.
"The Doctor said he has been doing it for the past 50 years, ... Last week the [son's] penis hole was closed, he was not urinating, so he has been feeling pain, his stomach getting big, urinating crying, can't sleep. His skin is hot", said Zinnah.
Appeal for help
Zinnah is calling on the Government and other well meaning Liberians and foreign friends to help save his son's life through surgery abroad.
"... I feel so bad, this is my only child, now I am not working, I am doing rock business. All the money I have, I have used ... ".
'Doctor on Run'?
The man only known as Dr. Nimley when contacted responded to his call on one occasion, but after FrontPageAfrica inquired on the situation he switched off the phone. Several other calls were unanswered ...
Middle East Online
Egypt doctor faces trial for fatal female circumcision
Although banned in 2008, female genital mutilation is still rampant in Egypt.
CAIRO - A doctor in Egypt will face trial for performing a female circumcision operation that killed a teenage girl, a judicial official said on Tuesday.
The 14-year-old girl's father who took her to the doctor for the procedure will also face trial, the official said.
Although banned in 2008, female genital mutilation is still rampant in Egypt, especially in rural areas where many believe it is part of their faith.
The doctor in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura performed the dangerous procedure at a private clinic.
The operation involves the removal of the clitoris and sometimes even more extreme mutilation, which proponents argue 'purifies' women from sexual temptation.
The practice has been common among both Muslims and minority Christians, said Nehad Abolkomsan, who heads the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights.
A survey in 2000 said the procedure had been carried out on 97 percent of the country's married women.
The fight against the practice was dealt a setback by Islamists after president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in 2011, who argued women's rights laws were vestiges of the dictator's regime, Abolkomsan said.
She said efforts to reach out to rural areas to end the practice had been partially successful, but more government supervision was needed.
"This will continue to need a lot of work and effort by the state to apply the law," she said.
"Most cases don't get to the attention of the prosecutor, unless the girl suffers health consequences."
The practice is also common in other African and Middle Eastern states.
The World Health Organisation estimates that between 100 million and 140 million women have been victims of genital mutilation worldwide.
AG: Family court, not rabbinical court, should decide on circumcision
Weinstein says family court would order circumcision if found to be in the best interest of the child.
by Yonah Jeremy Bob
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Thursday wrote to the High Court of Justice that the family courts, and not the rabbinical courts, should decide whether a baby gets a circumcision where the parents disagree on the issue and are in divorce proceedings.
He explained that the issue of circumcision did not fall under the heading of "divorce issues" in the rabbinical courts' jurisdiction since it was not directly related to severing relations between a couple – the legal test for that jurisdiction.
Despite his view that the family courts should decide, Weinstein added that the family court certainly could, and in some cases likely would, order a circumcision if it found that to be in the best interest of the child.
On February 26, a seven justice panel of the High Court heard the dispute in which the Rabbinical High Court had ordered the mother of a one-year-old boy to circumcise her son in keeping with the wishes of the boy's father.
At the end of the hearing, the High Court had requested Weinstein's opinion on the broader issue of whether family courts or rabbinical courts should decide the issue in general.
On February 11, Weinstein had already written the High Court that he believed that in this particular case, the rabbinical courts had exceeded its authority in intervening on the circumcision issue, noting that anesthesia and a special surgical procedure would be required which removed the issue from the rabbinical courts' authority.
Weinstein reiterated this position about the specific case at hand in his response to the High Court's question about what the general rule should be if no special medical issues were involved.
The High Court began the February 26 hearing saying that it centered around three questions: does any judicial body have authority to intervene on the issue, do the rabbinical courts specifically have authority and if the rabbinical courts have some degree of authority, is there a basis for the High Court to give the rabbinical courts directives in using that authority?
The mother's lawyer Avigdor Feldman told the High Court that she opposed the practice of circumcision and rejected the rabbinical courts' claim of authority based on the best interests of the boy.
Feldman said that the rabbinical courts' claim was based on an incorrect interpretation that circumcision was a medical procedure in the boy's best interests, whereas Feldman said that there was no medical necessity, and that the issue was merely an ideological dispute between the parents.
He added that the question of whether to do a circumcision was between an individual and god, and was beyond any human court's right to interfere.
Lawyer Shimon Yakobi, representing the rabbinical courts said that it was crucial to uphold their authority in recognizing them as equal and valid courts within the judicial system.
Following the hearing, the mother said, "'Social pressure is no reason to force cutting my son's body as nature, the universe naturally created him."
All of the parties involved now have seven days to respond to Weinstein's position before the court reconvenes on the issue.
ABC circumcision reports were culturally insensitive
by Murray McLaughlin
In January, the ABC reported on an Aboriginal initiation ceremony involving circumcision in which three boys were injured. Below, Northern Land Council media officer Murray McLaughlin writes that the reporting smacked of value judgement and cultural superiority. The ABC's head of current affairs Bruce Belsham writes in defence of the investigation here.
Over more than 35 years I have sat in many long meetings in Aboriginal communities in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. But the meeting on February 19 this year at Borroloola had a real poignancy. About 40 Aboriginal men were gathered at the Northern Land Council's regional office and they were hurting.
I was there in my job as media officer for the Northern Land Council, with NLC chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi and two other members of his executive, to hear the anguished reactions of men, young and old, to a story that the ABC ran on January 22 about a traditional initiation ceremony before Christmas that had gone "horribly wrong".
The ABC had learned that three young men had to be flown from Borroloola to hospital in Darwin after they had been circumcised. Norman Hermant, the ABC's social affairs correspondent, travelled all the way from Melbourne to Borroloola, a small, very remote and deprived town in the Northern Territory's Gulf country, with "just one mobile number in hand and a list of other 'less likely' numbers". He has written here about his assignment.
The one number belonged to the health centre's ambulance driver, William Miller, whose grandson was one of the three who were flown to Darwin. He was most upset when he saw his grandson bleeding from his circumcision cut and was the main interviewee in Hermant's story, versions of which were shown on 7.30 and other ABC programs, including online.
Miller appeared nervous at the meeting I attended and his sense of upset was, at first, still apparent. But, catching the mood of those before him, he apologised a couple of times for having caused offence by speaking to the ABC about his grandson's injury - thereby offending precepts of Aboriginal law, as the men attest in their statement below.
The greatest sense of offence felt by the men was reserved for the ABC story itself. When the NLC party arrived from Darwin, the chairman was presented with a typed statement, which encapsulated the sentiments forcefully articulated later at the meeting of men. It is reproduced here in full with the permission of the men attending the meeting:
The statement, with its request for an apology, has been sent to the ABC. NLC chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi has asked for it to be handled quickly because feelings are running high out Borroloola way.
Hermant's report has damaged the previously satisfactory relationship between the Aboriginal people of Borroloola and the ABC. It has also caused ostracism of Miller, in spite of his apology, by the overwhelmingly Aboriginal town. Worse, there's a widened rift between the Aboriginal townspeople and the medical clinic....
Hermant reported that the NT Child Abuse Taskforce had received two notifications about the incident, but an investigation had not identified any wrongdoing.
The Northern Territory Attorney General, John Elferink (a lawyer and former policeman with experience in the bush and exposure to Aboriginal cultural practices), accepted that finding.
"No abuse was found to have occurred," Elferink told Hermant, "and in the absence of that, and in the absence of criminality ... it's a parental decision on how to bring up the kids," he said.
Voice of America (Zimbabwe)
Circumcised Men Abandoning Condoms
WASHINGTON DC — Ernest Dhlamini of Mbabane city, Swaziland, was circumcised in 2006, to enjoy what he calls a clean life.
Dhlamini says he is worried that a large number of men circumcised under current programs funded by international organizations, are now abandoning condoms and engaging in unsafe sex.
He says this is a blow to programs implemented in 2009 by some African nations in an effort to curb the spread of HIV.
“There are many circumcised men who think that by being circumcised they can now have unprotected sex at will. They think that they can no longer contract HIV.”
This promiscuous behaviour is attracting the attention of some married women, who are now blocking their partners from the medical procedure.
Zimbabwean senator, Sithembile Mlotshwa, believes male circumcision is causing a lot of havoc in most southern African communities as circumcised men forgo the use of condoms.
"You tend to think that if this man goes through circumcision he is going to be too much. So, you are thinking I have been married to this man for so many years then why is he preparing his organ.”
Mlotshwa argues that those abandoning condoms believe they are too clean to contract HIV.
“After you are circumcised then you ask why you are protecting yourself.”
Commercial sex workers have taken advantage of the situation, charging more money for providing services to circumcised men who don’t care whether the ladies of the night are HIV positive or not. Two commercial sex workers operating in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, say these circumcised men are having sex with them at their own risk.
“These circumcised men say they do not have any diseases because they were circumcised. In most cases they offer us a lot of money. One of the circumcised men I had sex with on the first day gave me $100. I am now HIV positive but there is nothing I can do. This man is always coming back for more sex even though he does not know my HIV status.”
Officials in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland say they are fighting these myths among circumcised men to ensure they do not contract and spread HIV.
To worsen the situation in these nations, some people strongly believe that foreskins are being used for witchcraft purposes.
Some traditional healers confirm that they have been approached by business people seeking foreskins to boost their enterprises.
Some HIV/AIDS experts say there is a need for further research on the effectiveness of male circumcision as some circumcised men may be spreading HIV at an alarming rate.
Southern Eye (Zimbabwe)
Senator raises dust over circumcision
WASHINGTON DC — A Zimbabwean legislator says the Health ministry should stop circumcising children under the 2009 medical male circumcision programme.
Matobo senator Sithembile Mlotshwa said children should be allowed to make their own choices when they grow up instead of being circumcised under this programme funded by international donors.
Mlotshwa said: “I want to take our health minister to task because I believe that you don’t have to circumcise infants.
“In our Constitution, everyone is born with a right to life and I think it is wrong for a father and mother to sit down and decide to circumcise this young child who is a month old whereas the father was circumcised at the age of 40.
“This circumcised man’s parents gave him all these years to mature and know the uses of all the organs of his body so as to decide how best to remake what is God-given.
“So then why does this person want to agree with his wife to circumcise an infant who is a third person who has a right to be fully developed as he is, so that he makes his own decisions about his body organs?”
The controversial lawmaker said she will soon introduce a motion in Parliament to challenge the circumcision of children....
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