WASHINGTON DC —
Some traditionalists say no deaths were recorded in the just-ended circumcision ceremonies in Zimbabwe as at least 10 boys bled to death in similar initiation schools in South Africa.
They say the country’s initiation schools in Mbembesi and some parts of Chipinge are run by highly trained people unlike in South Africa where some initiation schools are being conducted for business purposes.
Xhosa prince Macleod Tshawe says more than 150 boys were circumcised in Mbembesi, Matabeleland South province, this year without encountering any hurdles. No deaths were recorded last year.
Zimbabwe is among 13 African nations that introduced medical male circumcision in 2009 following a study which indicated that the medical procedure reduces HIV transmission by 60 percent.
Tshawe says medical male circumcision can be blended with traditional circumcision methods to curb deaths at iniation schools.
Zimbabwe and other African nations are planning to introduce PrePex, a bloodless circumcision device health officials say will decrease the number of deaths and injuries caused by unsafe circumcision practices during initiation ceremonies.
Traditional circumcision is often performed in unsterile conditions where no anesthetic is administered and pain is perceived to be part of the rite of passage into manhood. If the wound is not treated properly it can lead to sepsis and dehydration, which has in the past lead to initiate deaths.