KZN increases circumcision drive

THE KwaZulu-Natal health department intends circumcising 4000 men before the start of school holidays on July 13, it said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Chris Maxon said more than 3000 people had been circumcised since the department started intensifying its circumcision programme.

He said the circumcision camps it held were successful because they involved health practitioners, traditional leaders and the community.

"From the time people are recruited to being circumcised, izinduna are consulted and a full screen test is done on the person before the procedure starts," Maxon said.

The screening was for HIV, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections and hypertension.

"When young boys are concerned, we make sure that parents consent," he said.

Meanwhile the number of initiates who have died has increased to 40 in Eastern Cape since the circumcision period started this winter, according to a report by the department of health in the province yesterday.

Department of health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said 50 initiates had been admitted to Mthatha, 180 to St Barnabas and 66 to Qawukeni hospitals.

"The number continues to grow and we as department are trying to help," Kupelo said.

He said a task team had visited initiation schools in Transkei and closed down a couple of illegal schools.

"We have arrested five traditional surgeons in Libode. Three of them are just small boys of 14," Kupelo said.

Local government and traditional affairs spokesperson Michael Msebi said on Friday MEC Sicelo Gqobana visited the area and held a meeting with local stakeholders.

The king of Amampondo, Ndamase Ndamase, committed himself to trying to find resolution to the matter," Msebi said.