Botched ritual ops cost a lotin E Cape

THE Eastern Cape health department has spent more than R1 million in one month treating initiates whose botched circumcisions became infectious and landed them in hospital.

THE Eastern Cape health department has spent more than R1 million in one month treating initiates whose botched circumcisions became infectious and landed them in hospital.

Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said yesterday the botched operations were costly.

"It cost about R1000 a day to treat an initiate in hospital after a botched circumcision," Kupelo said.

"So far we have rescued 180 teenagers in Transkei. Most of them had developed infections and were dehydrated. Some were very ill and had to be hospitalised for more than a week."

The provincial health department has been running public awareness campaigns on the dangers of being circumcised by unregistered surgeons. But this does not seem to be helping since about 44 initiates have died of complications after being circumcised by unregistered surgeons.

"Most of them were discovered dead in the mountains when the police raided illegal schools," Kupelo said. " The lucky ones were rescued and taken to various hospitals. The police arrested 11 unregistered surgeons."

The illegal surgeons face charges of murder and operating an unregistered initiation school.

The Eastern Cape Act on Circumcision stipulates that a doctor must see the initiates before the process starts.

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