Zim Gov, locals clash over circumcision ritual
from PEPUKAI REGERAI in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe
CHIREDZI – THE disposition of foreskins cut during circumcision has sparked disquiet in Chiredzi, south of Zimbabwe, where local sHANGAAN communities bemoaned they no longer had control of the ritual.
Over the years that the Shangani community had been conducting male circumcision, elders disposed foreskins.
They accuse the Healthy Ministry of taking over the role amid reports some officials were using the foreskins for ritual purposes.
Some villagers and community leaders now demanding that only medical doctors born and bred in a particular community be deployed to their original communities during circumcision to do the entire work.
“We just want our sons and daughters who are medical doctors to come and work with us during circumcision because as we speak we are not sure where the foreskins are going,” Malachia Njalavani, an elder from Chief Sengwe in Chiredzi.
“We suspect that the foreskins might be used for ritual purposes thereby making our tradition a mockery.
“We knew as a community how to dispose the foreskins but we are shocked with the development where the ministry officials without anyone from the community just dispose them.”
Chief Gezani Amos Hanyani of Chikombedzi in Chiredzi District also added his voice over the way doctors who are not of Shangani origin were allegedly abusing Shangani culture.
“We just need our own people who are part of us and our culture to be seconded by the ministry of health and come and do the entire medical work.
“We have several doctors who are of Shangani origin and that should not be a problem because right now we do not know what happens to the foreskins that are removed during circumcision,” he added.
However the Ministry of Health has since assured the community that all the foreskins removed are disposed under the Human Tissues Act which regulates the disposal of human tissue.
The Act tissues removed from the body, including foreskins, in a health facility be disposed of through the “recommended methods.”
“All foreskins removed as part of voluntary male medical circumcision programme are disposed of at each healthy facility as part of surgical waste. Disposal of the foreskins is done through incineration at recommended temperatures in the same manner that other body tissues such as foetus and limbs from amputations are disposed,” added the Ministry in a statement.
Masvingo Provincial Aids Coordinator, Evos Makoni, said the involvement of the Ministry of Health and the National Aids Council had reduced deaths during circumcision adding that all work done during the ritual ceremony was now under supervision of qualified health personnel.
“We are making sure that all professional healthy practices are followed hence our involvement is actually a blessing to the communities under taking circumcision,” said Makoni.
Male circumcision is a compulsory traditional ritual practised in most parts of Chiredzi where young men graduate to manhood after the ritual.
– CAJ News
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