Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC: Circumcision studies to be re-checked

Mother Nature Network
May 30, 2012

New project aims to double-check international aid program results

How much do adult male circumcision programs in Africa reduce HIV rates [...if at all]? Does group lending, which encourages repayment by putting people in support groups, make it easier for peasants in Thailand to pay back loans? There are high-profile studies that answer those questions, said Benjamin Wood, a researcher at the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation's Washington, D.C. office. But his organization thinks there's still a piece missing – studies that double-check the results from aid program research. "It's a bit of a hole in the field," he said. So the initiative is looking to fund repeat studies, which have been perpetually unpopular in almost any field of science.

Getting the same results twice or several times over is an important part of showing a study is true. Repeating experiments can also resolve debates about studies some experts think were poorly done. They help the U.S. government, which spent $15 billion on international aid in 2011, and private donors, who spend billions more, decide how to spend their budgets. Yet repeats are rarely published because researchers don't have any incentive to perform them.

One problem is that scientists build their reputations by publishing new, exciting papers. "Academics have to get published. That's their job," Wood said. Academic journals are less likely to publish a repeat, however, especially if the repeat that finds the original researchers did everything right, Wood told InnovationNewsDaily. Papers that point out something is wrong are more popular, he said.

That leads to another problem. Because repeat studies tend to be negative, researchers are reluctant to release their original data for replication.

So a new project Wood is leading will give researchers money to do repeat studies. His organization will publish preliminary results on their website, so good work doesn't get lost just because it's a repeat. The initiative won't favor negative results, so original researchers shouldn't worry a repeat request will necessarily hurt them.

In fact, original researchers could benefit from cooperating on a replication study, he said. A positive repeat will bring positive publicity to the original study and make it seem more reliable, so more people will read it. "These are all things that are helpful for the original researchers," Wood said.

The initiative will also post on their site if the researchers won't give up their data within three months of getting a request. The listing isn't exactly meant to embarrass researchers, according to Wood. "I think it's just kind of an identification," he said, "and maybe if you're unable to produce your original dataset, it starts to raise questions."

Wood is now looking for experts to nominate studies to get repeated. He wants influential or controversial studies, especially.... The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation may perform in-house a repeat on a study about male circumcision for HIV transmission prevention.


FINLAND: Greens vote to end circumcision; no law yet either way

Helsingin Sanomat
May 28, 2012

NEWS ANALYSIS: Finland lacks policy on religiously-mandated male circumcision

By Irina Vähäsarja
The issue of circumcisions performed on boys for religious and cultural reasons has reached a stage in Finland in which it is difficult to find a solution that is acceptable to all.

   The Green League voted in favour of a resolution at its party congress a week ago that such procedures should be phased out in Finland either through advice or, if necessary, through legislation.

Finns Party MP Vesa-Matti Sarakkala submitted a legislative initiative in Parliament calling for an outright ban on circumcisions.

   Earlier in the spring the issue was also taken up by Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (Swed. People’s Party). In her view, the procedures should be permitted, but legislation, or at least guidelines from the ministerial level are needed on who may perform the circumcisions and under what circumstances.

   There are problems involved in both permitting and prohibiting the operations, but there are also problems involved in the Finnish status quo, which has no specific legislation to back it up.

It is estimated that hundreds of non-medical circumcisions are performed on boys each year, but the circumstances under which they might be permitted, and when they would be classified as criminal assault are unclear.

   A basic guideline has been the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 2008, in which the religiously motivated circumcision performed on a Muslim boy was not considered a crime, as it was performed in a medically sound manner.

   The decision has been interpreted in such a way that non-medical circumcisions have been seen as permissible as long as they are performed by a doctor.

However, last year Helsinki District Court took a tougher line. The court ruled, among other things, that the person undergoing the procedure should understand what is happening. This means that circumcision of small children would not be allowed.

   The court based its decision on the Convention on Human rights and Biomedicine of the Council of Europe, which was adopted by Finland only after the Supreme Court’s decision.

   The case is still in the Court of Appeals, and it is too early to say if the Supreme Court will rule on it someday.

As long as no legislation is passed, or case law established, cases will end up in court. The situation causes uncertainty among parents who do not know if they could face charges.

   If the surgeries are banned, there is a danger that they will be performed abroad, or that quacks might be enlisted for the purpose, and that if complications occur, the parents might be afraid to take their children in for treatment. In addition, both the Jewish and Muslim communities oppose any ban.

   However, if the procedures are permitted, Finland will be giving its approval to medically unnecessary surgery that interferes with the integrity of the body. The Finnish Medical Association takes the stand that child circumcisions are in conflict with medical ethics.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health favours a compromise. It does not take a stand in either direction on the issue of legislation, but it is preparing a set of guidelines for health care professionals.

  Ministry official Marie Kolimaa is not disclosing the content or schedule of the guidelines. “There are many things that remain open”, she says.

   This is certainly easy to believe. A number of thorny questions need to be considered:
Should public health care be used for the performance of a religious ritual?

   What if all doctors refuse on ethical grounds?
   If the procedures are consigned to the private sector, is it still possible to get a public subsidy?

There is also the question of basic principles, which the Greens also referred to.

   Should Finland seek to act in such a way that non-medical circumcisions of boys would become less common, or be eliminated completely? If so, what would be the means to that end?

Earlier story

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FRANCE: Couple face trial after two girls cut
May 27, 2012

Guinea: Couple to Face French Court Over Daughters' Circumcision

A couple of Guinean origin is to stand trial for female circumcision in France on Tuesday. Although they were put under control of court in 2005 when their two elder daughters were found to have undergone female genital mutilation, their two younger daughters were later found to have suffered the same fate.

The couple, who came to France in the late 1980s, have been charged with complicity in violence, "having brought about the mutilation of a minor of less than 15 years old". They face up to 15 years in jail.
Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is traditional in about 30 African countries but illegal in France.

The couple's two elder daughters were found to have been mutilated after one of them, then aged 14, was admitted to hospital for appendicitis in Nevers, central France.

After at first denying any knowledge of genital cutting, the father went on to mention a woman who might have practised it, while denying that he knew it was illegal in France and that he had agreed to it taking place.

The couple were placed under judicial control, a form of parole.

At the time the two younger girls had not been circumcised but they were found to have undergone the operation in 2009 when hospital staff again notified the authorities after the youngest, then aged seven, was admitted with heavy bleeding from the vagina.

Again the parents denied any knowledge and the girls refused to say what had happened.


"This case is a first in so far as the parents were warned in 2005 but did it again," lawyer Linda Weil-Curiel, acting for the Committee for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation, said.

About 40 vaginal mutilation cases have been taken to court in France, she added.

INDIA: Boy needing ear surgery circumcised instead

IBNlive (India)
May 27, 2012

Boy with ear ailment circumcised in hospital

By Bhukker Madhu Kumar
BELLARY: Tension prevailed at the V S Hospital in the city on Saturday, when parents of a four-year-old boy alleged that their son was mistakenly circumcised while he needed a lymphod surgery.

Rohith, the son of Vaikunta and Sheshamma, hailing from Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh, was admitted to V S Hospital at BUDA Complex near Moti Circle as a lump on his left ear needed to be removed surgically.
Another boy was admitted to the hospital at the same time complaining of a urological problem.

Hospital doctor Chennanna allegedly performed the surgery on Rohith’s abdomen without verifying facts around 6 am on Saturday, alleged his parents.

Rohith’s parents noticed that the lump in his ear was not removed, only to realise that the surgery was performed in his abdomen. An embarrassed Dr Chennanna wasting no time performed another surgery to rectify his mistake and removed the lump in the boy’s left ear. “Dr Chennanna left the spot in a huff,” the parents said.

However, Dr Chennanna told Express that he had performed the surgeries on the patient only after consent of the boy’s mother. “The boy’s mother asked me to perform the circumcision as well; the two surgeries were performed simultaneously and the boy is in good health,” he added. Rohit was under severe pain owing to the surgeries. He was later shifted to the Vijaynagar Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellary.


KENYA: Law Society calls for stronger FGC laws

The Star (Kenya)
May 25, 2012

LSK official calls for harsher laws on FGM

By Moraa Obiria
THERE is an urgent need to review the laws protecting women against female genital mutilation, a Law Society of Kenya council member in the Rift Valley has said. Karimi Njeru said the current laws are too lenient to curb the outdated practice by various communities across the country. Njeru said the existing legal framework of serving a jail term of six months or paying a fine of Sh50,000 [$US 587] by the offenders is too lenient.


Njeru said she will mobilize members of the council to petition the Attorney General to review the laws to establish rather stringent punitive mechanisms against the FGM offenders. She said unlike the current laws which are too soft to prevent the recurrent of the practice, more harsh measures will instill discipline and elicit feelings of regret from the offenders and hence curb the trend.


Meanwhile she urged the Muslim women to be at the forefront in the fight against the practice amongst young girls. “Do not go silent on the practice. Raise the alarm while you can so that we can protect the lives of our girls. Otherwise you will be accused of abetting the crime against children and girls,” said Njeru.

Earlier story

IRELAND: Circumcision "unnecessary" - surgeon

Irish Health (registration required)
May 24, 2012

Male circumcision unnecessary - surgeon

Routine circumcision in male infants is a potentially dangerous and unnecessary procedure, according to a Dublin surgeon, ...

Dublin consultant plastic surgeon Mr Matt McHugh said circumcision was a form of genital mutilation that exposed patients to a number of health risks.

However, a representative of the Jewish community in Ireland has defended ...

Writing in the latest issue of Modern Medicine, the Irish journal of clinical medicine, Mr McHugh said: "There is no rationale for carrying out this extremely painful, traumatic and potentially dangerous procedure on male infants.


Mr McHugh said the reasons put forward for circumcision are "unproven and have no scientific basis of fact". In cases of clinically significant and persistent ‘phimosis' - a condition where the foreskin cannot be fully retracted, and the most common indication for non-religious circumcision - simple measures can be taken to correct the problem.

There is a common belief that the circumcised man runs a lessened risk of venereal infection, particularly AIDS and syphilis, but there are few figures to support this, Mr McHugh said.


However Rabbi Zalman Lent, of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation, said that circumcision was safe when performed correctly ["When performed correctly" Aye, there's the rub.]

Friday, May 25, 2012

MIAMI: Circumcision more botched than usual, parents sue

Miami New Times
May 23, 2012

Couple Sues Miami Doctor Over Botched Circumcision That Left Son's Penis "Unsightly"

By Michael Miller
A husband and wife are suing their Miami doctor over a botched circumcision that left their infant son with a "unsightly... and permanently scarred" penis. Steven and Keka Lorenzana of Coral Gables filed suit against South Miami ob/gyn Lissette Molina on May 11. The suit claims that Molina botched their son's circumcision so badly that not even corrective surgery could completely fix her mistake.

"The psychological ramifications of any penal [penile] injury are pretty extensive," says David Llewellyn, an Atlanta-based lawyer who handles many botched circumcision cases and has been hired by the Lorenzanas. Money from a settlement or trial would likely to go towards counseling for the child, he said.

On December 1, 2008, the Lorenzanas took their son -- identified in the lawsuit by the initials C.L. -- to South Miami Hospital. There, Molina circumcised the infant using a 1.3 GOMCO clamp, the most commonly used circumcision tool in the U.S.

According to the lawsuit, however, Molina "failed to align the foreskin on the bell of the GOMCO clamp before engaging the nut on the base plate, closing the clamp, and excising the foreskin, resulting in leaving too much foreskin on the ventral side of the penis."

For more than two years, the Lorenzanas' fears about their son's circumcision were waylaid [sic. gainsaid?] by pediatricians. One told the parents that C.L. "would grow into it."

But on April of 2011, Keka Lorenzana met Molina for a check-up and expressed concern about her son's penis. She showed Molina pictures and the ob/gyn told her to consult a urologist.

That's when the Lorenzanas realized the extent of their son's injuries. In September, C.L. underwent corrective surgery at a hospital in Atlanta but, according to the lawsuit, "the ventral side of (his) penis is still unsightly and is permanently scarred."

Neither the Lorenzanas nor Dr. Molina could be reached for comment, but the lawsuit notes that Molina has denied any negligence. We will update if we hear from any of them.

C.L.'s lawyers say that the boy, now three and a half years old, will likely need counseling to overcome the lasting trauma from the operation gone wrong.

"When skin is rearranged on the penis, that is going to affect (1) how it looks and (2) how it feels and very well may affect his sexual life," says Llewellyn, who has a website devoted to circumcision lawsuits.

"Men tend to be very concerned about how their penis looks," he says. "I think that always a tremendous psychological effect on boys and men."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Boy loses glans

Central Asian News Service (Kazakhstan)
May 22, 2012

Unsuccessful circumcision may lead boy to infertility and psychological abnormalities in Karaganda

CA-NEWS (KZ) - The surgeon cut off the part of 5-year-old child's penis [as always] during the circumcision in Karaganda, TV Channel 31 reported.

Karaganda resident, being converted to Islam, decided to do a circumcision to himself and his two 5-year-old twin sons. The first child had an operation which was successful, but the second one not.
"The surgeon just called an ambulance and said that something was damaged, so we were taken to the 45th hospital. We got bad news only after 4 hours. We were told that the head of our child's penis was cut off completely," mother of the suffered boy added.

Doctors sewed amputated fragment, but it did not catch on. Boy is still afraid of doctors, became tearful, there are problems with speech, even after several months of the last surgery. The criminal case under article for the improper performance of official duties due to negligence in regard of doctor is established. However, this article came under the amnesty, so the case was closed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BOTSWANA: Men not buying circumcision hype

the Monitor (Botswana)
May 21, 2012

F/town adult males spurn circumcision

By Chakalisa Dube
FRANCISTOWN: The Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) focal person from the District Health Management Team (DHMT) here, Dr Idy Thaddee Mulenda has said that the majority of adult males in the city and its surrounding areas still do not circumcise.

... "Our target for this year is to circumcise 10,000 males but for the first quarter of this year we have only managed to circumcise 658. The majority of those who have circumcised are students. We have four quarters in a year and it is unlikely that we will reach our 10,000 target if adult men do not circumcise in large numbers," he said.

... we have been talking to institutions such as banks and police stations that have high volumes of workers to send their employees for circumcision when schools are closed," he said. He said despite the intervention, the number of adult males who circumcise is still very low.

Mulenda also stated that only 4,209 men in Francistown and greater Francistown areas have been circumcised since the SMC initiative was launched in the city in July 2009. Of the 4,209, 40 carried out the procedure in private hospitals.

Programme officer at the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP), Eric Magashula, whose organisation works hand in hand with the Ministry of Health to deliver the SMC programme, said the majority of adults do not circumcise because they are reluctant to test for HIV/AIDS. He stated that the number of students who circumcise is high because HIV/AIDS prevalence among them is low.

He said, "We are however expecting the number of adult males who circumcise to increase soon. Of late we managed to reach a lot of individuals in very remote areas near Francistown to sensitise [indoctrinate] them about the importance of circumcising.

Earlier story

BOTSWANA: Kickback to advocate circumcision?

the Monitor (Botswana)
May 21, 2012

Vee in P1.3m circumcision deal - allegations

By Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
The Ministry of Health spokesman Themba Sibanda yesterday claimed ignorance as to whether they paid P1.3 million [$US 169,000] to kwaito kwasa star Vee wa Mampela for the on-going Safe Male Circumcision campaign spearheaded by the star.

Vee is the face of the Ministry of Health's Safe Male Circumcision drive that seeks to have half a million men circumcised to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection. Vee appears on billboards, newspaper adverts and television commercials as the face of the Safe Male Circumcision drive.

Sibanda referred further enquiries to Vee saying the issue of contract is personal. When asked to say if it is true that the tender for the job was never floated, Sibanda said he does not know much about that yet, saying he would have to check with the relevant department.


Monday, May 21, 2012

SWAZILAND: Circumcised "because he's in a wheelchair"

The Times of Swaziland
May 20, 2012

Accident survivor mysteriously circumcised

By Nhlanhla Mathunjwa
NHLANGANO – A patient who was transferred to a South African private hospital after being involved in a car accident was circumcised without his permission.

This anomaly has left government with a bill of E6 000.


Timothy Dlamini ... was taken to the Louis Pasteur Private Hospital in Pretoria ... after sustaining injuries on his spinal cord during an accident which occurred on September 3, 2011.


Before being involved in the accident, Timothy had already sent an application to the Phalala Fund, as he had a lung cancer problem and needed specialists to examine and treat him.


The doctors examined him and thereafter recommended that he be transferred to a hospital in South Africa.


He remained at the hospital for a month before returning home after being informed that he would not get much assistance because the injuries were serious. He was only given a wheelchair, which he was told he would have to use for the rest of his life. Timothy told this newspaper that during the month he spent at the hospital, not much attention was given to him but one day he was taken to the theater for the circumcision process.

"I never wanted to be circumcised as I did not believe in it," he said.

"A number of people including doctors I worked with at the Nhlangano Health Centre tried to convince me to be circumcised but I told them that I was not going to do it. The reason was that I had been told that once a person is circumcised, he no longer enjoyed sex. I then decided that I would not do it especially because I was faithful to my wife."

He said he was told about the circumcision a week before he returned home.

"The doctor told me that he would be taking me to the surgery room for circumcision in the next 15 minutes and therefore I should prepare myself," he said. "I told the doctor that I had not gone to the hospital for circumcision. I also told him that I had personal reasons why I did not want to be circumcised and asked that such should not be done."

He said the doctor told him that the circumcision was part of the treatment.

"The doctor said if I did not undergo the circumcision, I would have a problem in the future as I would not be able to urinate properly, especially because I was now on a wheelchair," he said.

"I had no choice but to go along with what the doctor wanted. Despite that the process went well, I felt within me that I should not do this. It was against my will but because of all the reasons given to me, I had to do it. Another thing that made me to go along with doctor’s decision was because I had been told that the doctors in Mbabane had also recommended the circumcision."

When told that the doctor charged E6 000 [$US 720] and Phalala Fund was not willing to pay the money as they felt it did not form part of the treatment, he looked surprised, saying he had always knew that circumcision was free of charge.


MINNESOTA: Mayo loses pro-FGC doctor

the Post-Bulletin (Rochester MN)
May 18, 2012

Mayo Clinic doctor departs amid genital mutilation controversy

By Christina Killion Valdez
A Mayo Clinic doctor whose remarks regarding female genital mutilation ignited online controversy no longer works for Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

Dr. Hatem Elhagaly, also known as Hatem al-Haj, is a certified pediatrician who began working at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea in 2001, where he was employed until the week of May 7, according to a Mayo Clinic spokesman.

"... we cannot comment further on Dr. Elhagaly's employment status."

Elhagaly's departure comes soon after a petition on the website, "Revoke the certifications of Hatem Elhagaly," ... which took aim at an Arabic-language paper entitled "Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine" by Elhagaly for "repeatedly pointing to the idea that female genital mutilation is 'an honor' for women," had 703 signatures as of Friday.

The petition included directions to call Chris Gade at Mayo Clinic Public Affairs.

Attempts to contact Elhagaly by the Post-Bulletin were unsuccessful. However, on his personal website, Elhagaly posted a clarification of his position on female circumcision on May 10.

"I have always condemned female genital mutilation. Moreover I have unequivocally spoken out in lectures and in writing against all harmful forms of female genital cutting, justifiably known as female genital mutilation, and condemned these harmful practices. I have also taught that nothing in Islamic Law and religious texts supports this crime, and in fact, it is repugnant to Islamic principles and values to inflict such trauma and suffering on any female," he wrote.

Elhagaly, who is also dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah Islamic University of North America in Columbia Heights, however, stated that a subtype of female genital cutting, called the ritual nick, is harmless.

"This subtype doesn’t involve any form of clitorectomy. It is merely an incision of the clitoral hood, which is the counterpart of the foreskin in males, and does not remove any part of the clitoris. This opinion is scientifically irrefutable and shared by many American non-Muslim pediatricians. It is the position expressed by the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics," he wrote. [... and adopted as AAP policy for a month until public outrage caused its "retirement"]

A U.S. federal law went into effect on March 30, 1997, making the female genital mutilation of minors, also known as female circumcision, a crime. Female genital mutilation is a felony under Minnesota law except when it is done as a surgical procedure necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed.
Elhagaly wrote that he has never performed the procedure nor had he seen it done on any patient.

"I have never advised, suggested or encouraged any of my patients or their families to undertake any type of female circumcision, including the ritual nick," he wrote. "Whenever I have addressed the topic as a speaker or writer, I have warned that, albeit harmless, the ritual nick is a criminal offense in the U.S. and other Western countries and should not be done."


Earlier story

ZIMBABWE: 175 MPs to be circumcised - one, 65, demurs

Newsday (Zimbabwe)
May 18, 2012

175 MPs to be circumcised

By Veneranda Langa Senior Parliamentary Reporter
Some 175 MPs are set to get circumcised, while almost the same number will go through voluntary HIV testing and counselling, chairperson of Parliamentarians Against HIV and Aids (Zipah) Blessing Chebundo said yesterday.

In an interview, Chebundo, who is also Kwekwe Central MP, told NewsDay the MPs planned to be circumcised by the end of June to encourage Zimbabweans to take preventive measures against HIV/Aids.

These were resolutions that came out of a recent HIV/Aids workshop for MPs in Kadoma and we made three resolutions, that we will walk the talk as role models and lead by example to embark on voluntary HIV testing and male circumcision, as well as to inspire young people to do the same, Chebundo said.

We need to go down to constituencies, provinces, districts, wards and villages as Zipah to spread messages to fight HIV/Aids and encourage males to undergo voluntary circumcision.

Chebundo said the programme would be done publicly, adding 20 MPs had already filled in forms to get circumcised.

Almost 175 MPs who are members of Zipah are in support of this and also 25 members of staff at Parliament. We are still updating the list of volunteers.

Obviously female MPs are not going for male circumcision, but we have encouraged their spouses to join us, Chebundo said.

However, there are still pockets of resistance in the House, with such MPs as Felix Magalela Sibanda (Magwegwe) saying in Parliament on Tuesday that the programme was misguided.

HIV should be a syllabus for the youths at a tender age not to tell us here in Parliament when I am already 65 years old and you tell me to go and get circumcised when I have sired 18 children without circumcision, Magalela Sibanda said.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

TASMANIA: Circumcision legallity decision due

The Mercury (Tasmania)
May 15, 2012

Circumcision decision due

By Michelle Paine
A TASMANIAN report into whether circumcision may be illegal is expected this month.

It comes as the Federal Government considers whether the procedure should continue to qualify for Medicare payments.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute began its review in 2009.

Public hospitals in Tasmania, as in most states, only circumcise if medically necessary.

A 2008 University of Tasmania researcher said the law failed to clarify whether the person doing the procedure, usually a doctor but sometimes a religious figure, was committing assault or abuse, or that consent from the boy's parents was protection against criminal and civil action.

In 2007 then Children's Commission Paul Mason said that other than for medical reasons, it was a breach of the most basic human right to inflict permanent, painful and disfiguring surgery on a boy's body when he was too small to resist.

"Everyone is entitled to bodily integrity, to protection of their own body from injury by another without their consent," Mr Mason said.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians said there was no medical evidence for routine circumcision.

It said the rate of complications, which could be severe, was 1 to 4 per cent, and that a well trained practitioner should do the procedure.

"Informed parental choice should be respected .. [consent] should include the possibility that the ethical principle of autonomy may be better fulfilled by deferring the circumcision to adolescence with the young man consenting on his own behalf," its statement said.

Department of Health and Human Services strategic planning director Martin Hensher said it was an elective surgical procedure when deemed medically necessary.

Last year there were 84 circumcisions, 57 on children, in Tasmanian public hospitals.

"Any debate on a change in policy relating to male circumcision, including Medicare coverage, needs to take place on a national basis in close consultation with physicians and the relevant peak bodies like the [RACP]."

Earlier story

Friday, May 18, 2012

ZIMBABWE: Youths bribed with soccer to get circumcised

the Herald (Zimbabwe)
May 17, 2012

Zimbabwe: Changing Lives Through Soccer

THE power of soccer is the ability to keep humans knocking the ball around.


The power of soccer has not only left people in packed stadiums excited, it has marked its place in the management of HIV and Aids by thousands of youths in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo.


GRS communications officer Tanya Sibanda said since 2002, more than 25 000 youth have graduated from GRS Zimbabwe programmes


The GRS curriculum, she points out, is also designed to strengthen relationships between the coaches and the youth participants and comprises of ten 90-minute sessions.

Each coaching pair (i.e. a male and a female coach) works with a maximum of 25 youths.

One session is done per week meaning these two role models will see the same 25 youth once a week for 10 weeks, enabling them to build strong, trusting relationships.

Ms Sibanda said the curriculum is also designed to foster maximum interaction between GRS coaches and participants.


GRS received a three-year programme grant in 2005 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its work.

"GRS now operates flagship sites in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia and has worked through partnerships in 18 countries worldwide," she said.


She revealed that GRS and PSI Zimbabwe will be hosting Bulawayo's first-ever male circumcision soccer tournaments to promote male circumcision from April to June.

Ms Sibanda said health partners at the events will offer free referrals for medical male circumcision including appointment bookings and free transportation to the PSI male circumcision clinic on site, with free HIV counselling and testing as well. [So what choice will the boys have?]

Soccer celebrities spearheading this campaign include some of Bulawayo's hottest talent -- Bantu Rovers' squad, which is fresh from a tour of the United States. From April 1 to 8, Bantu represented Zimbabwe at the 33rd annual Dallas Cup tournament in Dallas, Texas.


SOUTH AFRICA: Still in pain 4 years after botched circumcision

The New Age (South Africa)
May 17, 2012

'My boy is in pain'

By Masoka Dube
Mpumalanga - The national and Mpumalanga health departments face a combined R10m [$US 1.2 million] lawsuit after an eight-year-old boy lost the tip of his penis in a botched circumcision.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was mutilated at Barberton Hospital in Mpumalanga four years ago.

"We are currently waiting for the department to respond to the summons. They asked me to send them a doctor's medical report detailing the boy's injuries," said lawyer Milile Labe, who is representing the boy's family.

The boy's mother, who also cannot be named in order to protect his identity, said that a medical intern had performed the procedure on her son, who is now in Grade 2 at a primary school in Barberton.

"The intern attached the glans back on the penis, but after five days it fell off. I took the piece back to the hospital, where they put it into a container.

They then sent my son and the piece to Pretoria to get it re-attached, but that procedure failed as well. "To this day my boy still feels pain in his groin, especially when he tries to urinate," she said.

She said the doctor told her that the boy needed to undergo further medical treatment in order to be able to have sex in the future. "I made this shocking discovery after my lawyer took the boy to the doctor," said the mother.

A report from urologist Prof Mohamed Haffejee confirmed that the boy will experience problems later in life.
"In future he may have some sexual dysfunction related to decreased sensation and inability to reach orgasm due to the amputation of the glans. [And the foreskin. He could perhaps manage without a glans if he still had his foreskin.]

There may also be resulting psycho social problems as a consequence of the amputation related to low self-esteem," reads Mohamed's report, which is attached to the summons.


KENYA: Circumcision forced on men and women - boy dies for refusing
May 16, 2012

Kenya: Tigania Gang Terrorises Residents

By Kirimi Murithi
Residents of Buuri sublocation in Tigania East district staged demonstrations protesting against a gang that has been kidnapping people fighting archaic traditional practices. The gang kidnaps people who oppose female genital mutilation and support an alternative rite of passage for boys. They have been harassing human rights activists and kidnapping women who have refused to undergo the cut and men who have not passed through traditional circumcision.

The residents said last week a form three student at Nchuui Secondary School was stabbed to death for refusing to undergo training for traditional circumcision. They claim Eliud Mutuma resisted his kidnappers and they stabbed him. He died while undergoing treatment at Tigania Mission Hospital. "The gangs have been harassing women and young boys who are opposed to traditional rites of passage.
"We have tried to seek help from the area assistant chiefs but nothing has been done," said Geoffrey Karauri one of the residents. "The gang is advocating for circumcision of boys to be done in the fields by traditional circumcisers. Our children and wives are under threat and we need security," Karauri added. Karauri said his son was a victim when he was abducted and lost his phone and clothes to the gang and the local administrators have not been able to arrest the perpetrators of the crimes.

According to Daniel Kanake a victim of the gang, the group broke into his home and demanded that he prepares a traditional brew for them for the initiation of his son for taking his son to hospital for cut against their customs. "They waylaid my son and stormed my home demanding traditional brew. We are not ready to go back to the retrogressive rites. The chiefs seem to be protecting crooks as we suffer," Kanake said.

Ms Monica Mwari said the boys who have circumcised the traditional way have no respect for teachers in school since they have been taught that they are mature men. "Some circumcised boys have refused to remain in lower classes. They are also threatening to beat up teachers who reprimand them," she said. Evangelist Peter Thiribi urged the government to take stern action against the persons responsible since they are trying to take Kenya backwards. Last month there was anxiety in the same area after a group of women allegedly kidnapped and forcefully circumcised married women who are opposed to female circumcision.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

UGANDA: Free male circumcision gets priority over life-saving obstetrics and gynaecology

National Post (Toronto)
May 14, 2012

Jean Chamberlain Froese on Ugandan health care: Women and children last

By Jean Chamberlain Froese
As a Canadian obstetrician working in the developing world, I’m reminded daily of the superior health care available to men here compared to the health care available to women. Sadly, this discrepancy is often supported and perpetuated by well-meaning international donors.

The profound injustice hit me when I was visiting a local health-care facility in Uganda — I hesitate to call it a hospital, but it does offer obstetrical care for pregnant mothers and can, when strained to do so, perform cesarean sections for mothers who need them.

I met Helen in the delivery room at this facility. She was a Ugandan mother-to-be who had been in labour for nearly two days with no progress or chance to deliver naturally. After careful assessment by the local midwife and doctor, the obvious decision to do a C-section was made. Now the only thing that stood between Helen and a safe delivery was the $60 that this government health facility required from her — after all, she needed to pay for the gloves, medicine and anesthesia required to surgically deliver her baby. Her alternative was to hop on public transit — in this case an overcrowded minivan — and risk a two-hour drive followed by numerous hours of waiting at the national referral hospital, where she would queue up behind the many other mothers trying to access free services.

As director of the Save the Mothers program and a qualified doctor, I couldn’t just stand by and watch. The delay in moving to another facility would mean certain death for the unborn baby and probably significant injury, if not death, for the mother. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the Ugandan cash; Helen could now receive the medical care she urgently needed.

I was relieved to see that within an hour, Helen was operated upon and a healthy baby boy was born. But as I approached the operating room, I was shocked at the commotion outside. There were 10 men waiting — all lined up in a row, clutching their medical files with sheepish looks on their faces. They were scheduled for male circumcision — an approach to reducing HIV/AIDS transmission that [perhaps] shows some benefit in decreasing men’s susceptibility to infection. It was a procedure the men could access for free and one that was advertised nationally with billboards and radio campaigns. These operations took up nearly all the space in the operating theatre and the attention of the medical staff — at least three times more of whom were assigned to one man’s care than were assigned to Helen’s. This injustice stung me.

There really is a distinct difference in the care available for men versus women in the developing world. Male procedures that potentially reduce HIV/AIDS receive unlimited and sustained international support, while health interventions to categorically save mothers’ (and their babies’) lives still take a back seat — or a small corner of an operating room in Helen’s case.

Shouldn’t the women who are risking their lives to deliver the next generation at least receive the same free health care as the men who want to reduce their personal chances of HIV/AIDS acquisition? Don’t their lives count as much as those of men? If that operating room in Uganda was any indicator, the current answer is no.

EGYPT: Medical convoys promote Female Cutting

May 14, 2012

Egypt's Brotherhood mobile FGM convoys condemned by women's group

By Mohamed Abdel Salam
CAIRO: A number of Egyptian human rights groups have submitted a communication to the Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud against the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to investigate the complaints of people in the village of Abu Aziz in the Minya governorate, south of Cairo, over the existence of a large medical convoy organized by the party that wanders streets and does medical examination on people, including female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, in violation of Egyptian law, conventions and treaties signed by Egypt.

In Egypt’s legal code, Female Genital Mutilation is criminalized, as well as the inciting by doctors to convince families of the young girls of the need to agree to circumcise their daughters, “as a matter of preserving chastity.”

The communication demanded Mervat Tallawy, the head of the National Council for Women (NCW) and Major General Seraj EL Din El Rouby, the Governor of Minya, and Nasr El Sayed, Assistant Minister for primary health care, and preventive medicine, and family planning, to intervene to stop what it called “a farce propaganda for free circumcision, which was organized by one of the political parties, in Minya governorate to promote circumcision.”

The communication came after reports were circulated on news websites and social networking websites, including Facebook and Twitter about a convoy organized by the FJP to promote circumcision among girls in Minya.

The NCW said it will adopt an awareness campaign in various governorates in Egypt to address the grave consequences of female genital mutilation and, appealing to citizens, especially women, “not to respond to calls for this illegal act, which violates the dignity and rights of women,” and calling for lawmakers to “comply with the law and address such propaganda for free circumcision.”

Earlier story


News Medical
May 14, 2012

National program in Botswana focuses on increasing male circumcision rate

Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all have launched national campaigns urging men to undergo circumcision to help reduce their risk of contracting or transmitting HIV infection, but "all the countries are lagging far behind their targets," Agence France-Presse reports in an article focusing on efforts in Botswana. A three-year-old campaign in Botswana, aimed at convincing 460,000 men to get circumcised, "has reached only seven percent of this figure," the news agency notes, adding, "Now the government has enlisted the help of top musicians and launched a new series of advertisements touting 'safe male circumcision' as a lifeline."

According to AFP, "Botswana has no tradition of circumcision, giving the government a tough sales pitch -- even for a procedure done with local anesthetic, taking only a few minutes and requiring only a few days recovery." The news service notes most men say they fear the pain of the procedure, that the recovery time will be long, and how it will affect their sex lives.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ZIMBABWE: Female cutting suggested (among other nutty proposals) to reduce HIV
May 12, 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Senator Wants Women to Dress Shabbily

By Farirai Machivenyika
WOMEN should always have bald heads, lose weight and dress shabbily to reduce their attractiveness as part of measures to curb the spread of HIV, MDC-T Senator for Chikomo, Morgan Femai said yesterday. Addressing Zimbabwe Parliamentarians on an HIV sensitisation workshop here yesterday, Sen Femai proposed that women should also be circumcised. He said HIV is spreading at an alarming rate because men find it difficult to resist women because they are becoming more attractive.

"What I propose is that Government should come up with a law that compels women to have their heads clean-shaven like what the Apostolic sects do. We have never heard that those people (Apostolic sects) are promiscuous so the women should have their heads shaved. They should also not bath because that is what has caused all these problems (spread of HIV)," Sen Femai said.

On women circumcision, he said: "Women have got more moisture in their organs as compared to men so there is need to research on how to deal with that moisture because it is conducive for bacteria breeding. There should be a way to suck out that moisture." [This is actually no sillier than most claims for male genital cutting.]

... Sen Femai becomes the third MDC-T legislator to offer controversial and bizarre advice on how to curb the spread of HIV. Another MDC-T Senator, Sithembile Mlotshwa (Matobo), recently said people should have sex once a month and that men should be injected with drugs that reduce their libido. She also called for prisoners to be given sex toys to quench their sexual needs.

Another MDC-T legislator Thabitha Khumalo is also at the forefront campaigning for the legalisation of prostitution and has vowed to assist commercial sex workers form a trade union to fight for their rights. [Which would include the right to demand that men use condoms. That alone would significantly reduce HIV spread.]


Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence has been on the decline in the past decade and currently stands at around 14 percent from a high of over 30 percent. [And no thanks to circumcision. What are the chances they will find out what worked and do more of that?]

NORWAY: Ban considered after circumcision death

btno (edited Google translate)
May 12, 2012

Boy died after circumcision in Oslo

A two-week-old boy died of complications two days after he was circumcised by a doctor in Oslo.
The circumcision was at a doctor's office on the East side, and both the police and county physician in Oslo are now investigating the matter, writes Aftenposten.

The boy was circumcised last Sunday and died two days later. County medical officer Peter Schou confirms that the child died of complications following circumcision.

- We have put two unnamed doctors under formal supervision, said Schou.

According to him there have been several cases supervised by medical offices in Oslo, which have been about circumcision.

Complaints rare
- These are very difficult cases to investigate because patients rarely complain about circumcision, but we have had serious concern from hospitals that put these children into therapy later, he told Aftenposten.

Each year an estimated 2000 boys are circumcised in Norway, many of them privately and without professional control.

Health and Care Services is now considering tighter laws to make circumcision safer, but both within government and within the coalition parties, there is disagreement about of circumcision of boys. Some want to ban it, while others would offer the procedure in the public health system. A bill has recently been circulated, and many would ban or limit it.

Prohibition or limit
Weightier bodies consulted believe the circumcision of male children should be banned. The Medical Association, Nurses, the Children's Ombudsman, the NHA, Resource people and the Medical Faculty of the University of Oslo want the practice [outlawed].

Child Ombudsman Reidar Hjermann want a debate about the minimum age, but believes that ritual circumcision should be banned for children under 15-16 years.

Justice Policy Center spokeswoman, Jenny Klinge, said ritual circumcision of young boys should be banned in line with the [law against] circumcision of girls.

Original Article:

12.mai. 2012

Gutt døde etter omskjæring i Oslo

En to uker gammel gutt døde av komplikasjoner to dager etter at han var blitt omskåret av en lege i Oslo.

Omskjæringen skjedde på et legekontor på Oslos østkant, og både politiet og fylkeslegen i Oslo undersøker nå saken, skriver Aftenposten.

Gutten ble omskåret forrige søndag og døde to dager senere. Fylkeslege Petter Schou bekrefter at barnet døde av komplikasjoner etter omskjæring.

- Vi har opprettet en formell tilsynssak mot to navngitte leger, sier Schou.
Ifølge ham har det vært flere tilsynssaker ved legekontorer i Oslo som har dreid seg om omskjæring.

Klager sjelden
- Dette er veldig vanskelige saker å undersøke fordi pasienter sjelden klager på omskjæring, men vi får alvorlige bekymringsmeldinger fra sykehusene som får disse barna inn til behandling senere, sier han til Aftenposten.

Hvert år blir anslagsvis 2.000 gutter omskåret i Norge, mange av dem privat og uten faglig kontroll.

Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet vurderer nå innstramminger i lovverket for å gjøre omskjæring sikrere, men både innad i regjeringen og innad i de rødgrønne partiene er man uenig i synet på omskjæring av gutter. Noen vil ha forbud, mens andre vil tilby inngrepet i det offentlige helsevesenet. Et lovforslag har nylig vært på høring og mange ønsker forbud eller aldersgrense.

Forbud eller aldersgrense
Flere tunge høringsinstanser mener omskjæring av guttebarn bør forbys. Både Legeforeningen, Sykepleierforbundet, Barneombudet, Human-Etisk Forbund, Ressurssenteret for menn og Medisinsk fakultet ved Universitetet i Oslo ønsker slutt på praksisen.

Barneombud Reidar Hjermann ønsker en debatt om nedre aldersgrense, men mener at rituell omskjæring bør forbys på barn under 15-16 år.

Justispolitisk talskvinne i Senterpartiet, Jenny Klinge, mener rituell omskjæring av små gutter må forbys på lik linje med omskjæring av jenter.

AFRICA: No money for HIV programmes that work, only circumcision

May 10, 2012

Africa: Less Global Funds, More Problems

By Laura Lopez Gonzalez,
Fund medicines or fund the programmes that support uptake and adherence? That's the choice countries are now facing amid Global Fund shortfalls. With money tight, countries are slashing civil society-led HIV and TB programmes - treatment supporters, community-based volunteers, support for people living with HIV - to safeguard essential services, according to preliminary research being conducted by the Open Society Foundations.

In November 2011, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria faced US$2.2 billion in unpaid donor pledges and cancelled its Round 11 of funding. This was the most dramatic manifestation of years of broken donor promises.

Two years earlier, Global Fund donors reneged on almost 15 percent of pledges - a figure that rose to almost a quarter of donor pledges in 2010, according to former Global Fund Executive Director, Michel Kazatchkine's November 2011 report to the board.

To ascertain the impact on civil society of these Global Fund shortfalls, OSF undertook research in three countries that had planned to apply for Round 11 funding - Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Through interviews with nearly 45 representatives from civil society, Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs), HIV and TB programmes, and UN agencies, OSF found that these countries are facing funding gaps for essential services such as HIV and TB testing and treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission services (PMTCT), and support for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC).
The research found that to free up funding for these initiatives, all three countries are cutting the kinds of complementary, civil society-led activities identified as 'critical enablers' in the UNAIDS Strategic Framework.

Swaziland has now halted HIV prevention programmes with the exception of PMTCT and medical male circumcision and may re-programme phase II of its current Global Fund money to shift more money towards buffer ARV stocks, according to Vusi Nxumalo, CCM member and Vice Chairperson of the Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS.

Swaziland's Round 11 application - like that of Namibia - would also have been the first to include HIV prevention programming aimed at criminalised, most-at-risk populations, such as sex workers and men-who-have-sex-with-men. In addition, the country would have addressed the needs of its small population of injecting drug users.

KENYA: Men not volunteering to be cut, so boys targetted
May 10, 2012

Kenya: The Cut for Boys to to Tame HIV

By Habil Onyango
THE Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation will soon introduce circumcision programme for children under the age of 15 to help curb HIV/Aids in the country. Homa Bay branch DASCOP coordinator Alice Nyambai said they hope to introduce the program to children under 15 years, as a way of supplementing the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) exercise.

Nyambai said that the programme will help in the reduction of HIV/AIDS infections as more males get circumcised in the region despite being more affordable as compared to the VMMC. [She has NO evidence whatsoever for this claim.]
She added that the children circumcision programme will cost the government Sh1, 000 [$US 11.95] for each circumcised child, while the VMMC costs Sh5, 000. [$US 59.74] "We are hopeful that the children's circumcision program is likely to be more successful as more grownups are reluctant to enroll for the VMMC that targets males of age bracket 25 to 49 years," said Nyambai.

She said that the since September 2008 when the program was initiated, only 11, 000 men have been circumcised out of the estimated 42, 000 in Homabay district.
[In short, men aren't buying it, so they're imposing it on boys who can't resist.]

Friday, May 11, 2012

SHANGHAI: Botched circcumcision takes man's whole penis

May 10, 2012

Man's penis amputated after botched circumcision

By Horace Lu
A 21-year-old man in Tianjin has had his penis cut off after what appears to be a botched circumcision procedure just two weeks before his wedding ceremony.

Xiaohe (not his real name) said he decided to go for circumcision before his big day but his wound would not recover following the operation, despite days of transfusion.

Immediately following operation on November 11, 2011, Xiaohe said he felt a sharp pain in his penis the day after, and his penis began to swell, eventually turning red, and then black as the cells and tissues in his penis began to die.

Doctors at various hospitals were unable to save Xiaohe's penis and the decision to amputate his penis was made on December 21, 2011.

He has now sued the hospital where he had the circumcision for a compensation of 150,000 yuan (23,833 USD).

Xiaohe's wife and former schoolmate, Xiaoli, also sued the hospital for compensation. Xiaohe was upfront with his fiance about the botched procedure, but she decided to go ahead with the wedding believing everything would turn out fine.

Xiaoli's claims have, however, been thrown out by the court, because Xiaohe was below the legal marriage age of 22 and hence their marriage was not officially recognised by the law.

Xiaohe's lawyer has also asserted that the doctor who performed the circumcision had no legal papers to be practising in Tianjin and urged authorities to punish the hospital.

Penis reconstruction surgery is available, but is a highly complex procedure which is unlikely to give Xiaohe a fully functional penis even if successful. Moreover, the operation, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, is too much for Xiaohe's farmer family to bear.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE: Civilians unwilling? US urges Africa to circumcise military

May 7, 2012

US urges circumcision for soldiers to fight HIV in Africa

Male circumcision is the best way to prevent new HIV infections in the military, the head of US anti-AIDS efforts told a gathering of top army brass from Africa, Eastern Europe and central Asia.
"We believe male circumcision is a highly significant, lifetime intervention. It is a gift that keeps on giving. [No, it is a theft that keeps on taking.] It makes a lot of sense to put extraordinary resources into it," US global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby told the 400 delegates.

The meeting on AIDS and the military gathered officials from 80 countries, including most of Africa but also countries from Surinam to Georgia and Estonia.

Studies show that circumcision can dramatically reduce HIV infections. One study in South Africa last year found new infections fell by 76 percent after a circumcision programme was launched in a township. [Last year? How could they possibly get significant results in so short a time?]
In 2006, trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa found foreskin removal more than halved men's risk of HIV infection. Longer-term analysis has found the benefit to be even greater than thought, with a risk reduction of around 60 percent.

The United States is sponsoring programmes in several African countries with a goal of circumcising four million men by 2013.

Results so far are patchy. Although Kenya is close to reaching its target of 80 percent of sexually active men, Uganda has achieved less than five percent of its target.

"We need the military to take up some of these circumcisions," said Caroline Ryan of the US Global AIDS Coordinator's Office. [So if some men refuse to have part of their genitals cut off, find others who can't refuse.]

Little data exists on HIV rates among soldiers. Few countries are willing to divulge statistics, fearing they will be perceived as weak. [Perhaps they should find out at the same time whether circumcised soldiers are any less likely to have HIV than intact ones?]

Saturday, May 5, 2012

DENVER: Colorado Medicaid will not resume funding circumcision

Health Policy Solutions
May 5, 2012

Circumcision bill dies in Colorado House

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
A bill that would have restored Medicaid funding for circumcisions in Colorado died Friday.
The measure squeaked through a hearing in the House Health and Environment Committee on Thursday, then died in Appropriations Friday morning.

Opponents, who included health professionals, budget hawks and anti-circumcision activists told health committee members on Thursday that circumcision is cosmetic and potentially harmful, and taxpayers should not fund it.

Proponents for the bill argued that funding for circumcision for babies on Medicaid is a social justice issue. In general, insurance companies pay for the procedure for insured Colorado babies even though the American Academy of Pediatrics does not deem circumcisions to be “medically necessary.” Meanwhile, low-income parents who want their babies circumcised are being put on waiting lists for the procedure until parents can prove they’ve paid in advance.

Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, an internal medicine doctor for Denver Health, testified on behalf of restoring public funding for circumcision. Last year, Colorado lawmakers decided to save money and cut funding for Medicaid circumcisions. They were following the lead of 17 other states. Proponents wanted taxpayers to once again pay for the procedures for parents who choose to have their infants circumcised.

Fiscal analysts estimated that covering the procedures again would cost the state about $195,000 next year and $230,000 the year after that.

“As a physician, I don’t try to influence parents one way or the other,” Aguilar said. “People make this decision based on religious and cultural reasons.” [What business does a doctor have performing surgery based on religious or cultural reasons? (Answer: good business....)]
She said that there is some evidence that infant boys who don’t get circumcised have higher rates of urinary tract infections and that adult men who are uncircumcised and live in poverty tend to have increased rates of HPV, which can lead to higher rates of cervical cancer in female partners.

Only one other doctor testified on behalf of circumcision. The rest of the witnesses opposed public funding for the procedure for a variety of reasons.

They included Dr. Jennifer Johnson, a family physician who works with Medicaid and uninsured patients at Clinica Family Health Services.

I’ve done at least 100 circumcisions and just recently decided to stop,” Johnson testified.

She said she and her husband, who is Jewish, decided not to circumcise their own son, who is now 4. She said she was concerned when she researched the issue and found that removing the foreskin from a boy’s penis damages numerous nerve endings. While circumcision is traditional in the Jewish community, Johnson said her husband was open to new research about the potential harms from circumcision.

If boys or men decide to remove the foreskin as adults, then they can make that decision, Johnson said. But she decided that as a physician, she should no longer do a procedure that is “potentially harmful.”

“This is not a necessary procedure,” Johnson said. “It’s a healthy, normal body part.”“There are a lot of medical needs in our population. We have no business using limited health care dollars on a medically unnecessary cosmetic procedure.”

One lawmaker, Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, elicited laughter in the hearing room when she asked Dr. Johnson if circumcision might help reduce teen pregnancy rates and teen sexual activity by reducing nerve sensation in boys’ penises.

“I’m wondering if there’s a risk of more sexual activity, more male irresponsibility” for uncircumcised boys, Schafer asked.

 [Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Colorado Springs, looks incredulous at Rep. Schafer's question.] Joshi, a retired doctor, voted against restoring circumcision funding, saying circumcision is uncommon in India and he's never seen infections due to lack of circumcision.

Johnson answered that teen pregnancy is certainly a problem, but said circumcision won’t halt teen sexual activity.

“Circumcision is not a cure for behavior. That’s about education,” she said.


While circumcision is an ancient tradition in some religions, circumcision opponents said it became popular in the U.S. as a method to prevent masturbation among boys. Later, fathers wanted their sons to look like them.

“Frankly that’s cosmetic surgery…and I strongly urge you to vote against it,” said Dr. Matt Mason, a physician from Telluride. He was skeptical about cost estimates and said circumcision is now rare in Western Europe, Canada and New Zealand. [Circumcision has always been rare in Western Europe.]

Earlier story

Friday, May 4, 2012

EGYPT: Women's group sues pro-FGC MP

May 4, 2012

Egypt women's NGO takes pro-FGM Parliamentarian to court

By Manar Ammar
Egypt’s New Women Foundation said they are suing Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over her pro-female genitals mutilation (FGM) statements. The women’s rights foundation sent a letter to the speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatny, informing him of legally going after Garf and asking for his permission to be allowed to take the MP to court.

The parliament needs to lift immunity for an MP in order for them to be held accountable in a court of law.

Garf was reported saying that FGM is an Islamic practice and that the anti-FGM laws should be amended. Garf is a Freedom and Justice [!] Party (FJP) member, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

“We are on our way to sue Garf to preserve our rights and the gains of Egyptian women,” said the open letter to the speaker.

“We are suing her for going against Egyptian laws that criminalize sexual harassment and FGM, practices that goes against women rights and human rights.

“We completely refuse Garf’s statements and announce that she does not represent us.”

Garf gave similar statements on her Twitter account last month, calling for lifting the laws that criminalize FGM. The statements stirred criticism, which led to the FJP to announce that Garf has no account on Twitter and no comments were made by Garf herself.

Rights surveys in the country put the number of women who go through FGM to be around 86 percent. ...

In 2010, a 13-year-old girl died after a local doctor in the Nile Delta region’s Menoufiya governorate failed in the operation.
The doctor... is to stand trial ...

In June 2007, 12-year-old Badour Shakour died as a result of a circumcision operation. The death sparked a battle within the country over the use of the controversial medical procedure. Her death galvanized women and children’s rights groups to action, where they pushed for more stringent penalties against those who carry out female genital mutilation.
In summer 2008, Egypt’s Parliament passed a law that ostensibly bans the controversial procedure. Not that it should have needed to legislate against FGM – it was already officially banned in the country during the mid-nineties – but with doctors continuing to perform the procedure on girls as young as five, Parliament felt it was necessary to intercede.

The new law stipulates a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($185) to 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($900) and a prison term of anywhere between three months and two years if caught performing FGM.

A doctor also could lose their medical license. In the case of Shakour, the doctor who performed the procedure languishes in prison after being convicted of manslaughter.

Earlier story

BIRMINGHAM, UK: Two men arrested under FGC law

May 4, 2012

Two held in Britain over 'female genital mutilation'

LONDON — Two people were arrested in Britain's second city of Birmingham on Friday after a media report that medics and alternative practitioners had offered to perform female genital mutilation.

West Midlands Police said they had arrested two men aged 55 and 61 on suspicion of offences under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, which forbids the cutting of a girl's genitalia unless medically necessary.


"We are still in the very early stages of this investigation but I hope this morning's action sends out a clear message about how seriously we are taking these allegations," said Detective Inspector Caroline Marsh of West Midlands Police's public protection unit.

"Female genital mutilation is a serious assault against young girls and while it is perceived by parents not to be an act of hate, it is harmful, it is child abuse and it is unlawful."

The Sunday Times reported that a doctor at a private clinic referred undercover reporters to a dentist who he said would give children the "circumcision" surgery.


Earlier story

LIBERIA: 750 girls flee school for circumcision

Africa Review
May 3, 2012

Circumcision rush disrupts school term in northern Liberia

By Tamba Jean-Matthew

A mad rush by hundreds of girls to get circumcised has left observers astounded in northern Liberia, reports said.

About 750 girls, including college students in the Mahn District of Sanniquellie in Nimba Country, have gone into the bush for circumcision, apparently on their own volition, to the disbelief of many area residents.

This has completely disrupted the academic year as most of the girls are school-going teenagers.
Reports said the girls suddenly developed interest and abandoned whatever activities they were engaged in to be circumcised.

The New Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday that some parents and guardians were taken unawares by this sudden desire by the girls to get the cut.

The newspaper quoted local education authorities complaining that enrolment in the second and final half of the school year had dropped considerably.

"This situation does not only affect grade schools when the season for the ‘bush’ comes in Nimba, but also the African Bible University and Nimba Community College," said one education officer.

The situation has compelled Nimba County Chief Education Officer Beatrice Kargar Saye Bonner to call on the organisers of the circumcision ceremonies to set aside specific periods for the activity so as not to disrupt their education programmes.

"It is not prudent for those of school-going ages to drop out of school. Traditional practices hinder their academic activities," Ms Bonner noted.

UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA: Two boys die from circumcision

Deccan Chronicle
May 2, 2012

Circumcision goes awry, two boys die

Two boys died in Bodhan town in the district late on Monday night due to over bleeding. A rural medical practitioner performed circumcision on the boys five days ago, which led to uncontrolled bleeding.

The deceased were identified as Arif, 4, and Azhar, ,3 of Rakasipet in Bodhan.

It is believed that the negligence of RMP led to the death of children. According to sources, parents got the two children circumcised five days ago at Masjid Colony in Rakasipet area.

After the surgery, the boys had suffered bleeding, but the RMP advised them not to worry and it could be cured with medicines.

But, Arif and Azhar, breathed their last on Monday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

UGANDA: Pretty women entrap intact men for enforced circumcision

Uganda Picks
May 1, 2012

Cultural Circumcision-Pretty Women Used to Find Bugishu Uncircumcised Men

By Sandra Birungi
Pretty women are being used to find out which men have not been circumcised. Among such victims was Shaban Kidudu who was sexually lured by a woman who later revealed that he was not circumcised despite his claims that he had been circumcised.

Kidudu from Lugazi used to tell the Bagishu community that he had been circumcised before and he did not need the cultural performance to be carried out on him. However, it was later found out that he had not been circumcised which forced [forced?] the bugishu community to use force for him to be circumcised. [So they threatened him with violence?]
“My husband went through the knife so when he told me we should go and find the man who was scared of it, I was more than willing to go ahead and help. I called him and told him I needed to meet him and he told me he would meet me in five minutes. Five minutes later, I called again and he said he was sloping down the hill and he would be next to me soon. [So this man put out his wife to offer sex to Kidudu, and they claim the moral high ground?] Later on, when I inspected him, I found out he was not circumcised so when we were leaving, I called the people and told them he had not been circumcised,” narrated the planted woman.

Kidudu at first rejected the woman’s claims saying he had been circumcised but later on admitted to not being circumcised. He was smeared with maize flour as culture demands it and walked around the village announcing he was going to get circumcised.

Kidudu works at a washing bay and he had previously assured the people that he had been circumcised. After realising it actually works to find the culprits ["culprits"?] , the residents promised to start using the pretty women to find those men who were not circumcised. Kidudu later confessed that he was going to go for circumcision in the hospital and the operation had been scheduled to take place sometime this week.

“If he was a muslim, we would have had no trouble letting him go because that would mean he had been circumcised but he was not,” said the woman who laid the trap for Kidudu.

In Bugishu culture, circumcision is a must for every boy. By the age of 18 years, it is believed that a boy is able to stand the knife and feel the pain like a man. In previous years, an MP was forcibly circumcised after it was found out he had not been circumcised. Being uncircumcised is looked at as a sin, you are not a man until you have withstood a knife.

COLOMBIA: Girl dies of FGC

Colombia Reports
April 30, 2012

Colombian baby girl dies after circumcision

By Miriam Wells
A 15-day-old baby from an indigenous tribe in western Colombia has died after her clitoris was removed in a banned ancestral practice, reported Radio Caracol Monday.

The infant, who died of a haemorrage, belonged to the Embera-Chami tribe in the Valle de Cauca department, which pledged in 2010 to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The mayor of Ansermanuevo, Jose Luis Herrera, said the baby had left the hospital in good health. "The case [has been referred] to the governor of the community, because they had promised to stop these activities," he said.

The death of a young Embera-Chami girl in 2007 brought attention to the practice of FGM among the tribe, which has a population of about 5,000.

The United Nations Population Fund approached Embera-Chami leaders to ask if it could start a community project exploring the origins of FGM in the tribe and teaching about the physical and psychological harm it causes.

It was discovered it probably dated from the time of colonial rule, when there had been a lot of contact with African communities brought to Colombia as slaves.

After one year of work, the community decided it would stop the practice for a trial period of two years. At the end of the two years, it was decided to end the practice permanently and enforce severe punishments for anyone who carried it out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

UGANDA: Target of 4.2 million men circumcised

UG Pulse
April 30, 2012

Uganda Health News: Ministry of health targets 4.2 million people for circumcision

The Ministry of health has a target of 4.2 million people to be circumcised by 2015, as part of the means to check new HIV infections.
[The male population of Uganda is aprroximately 18 million. ]
The country registers 130,000 new infections annually, in a trend that experts say is worrying.
The ministry’s Program manager Aids Control, Dr. Joshua Musinguzi says the campaign is expected to have positive results, since circumcision has been proven to reduce chances of contracting HIV/AIDS by 60%

[Only for men, and hardly "proven".]
Musinguzi however cautions those circumcised against living reckless lives, since it does not offer full protection;
[While the leaders speak in euphemisms about "living reckless lives" they are never going to grasp issue.]
Meanwhile, the Government has today rolled out a campaign where mayors and municipal leaders are being engaged to promote safe male circumcision and eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV.
[Eliminate? How?]

U S A: Pediatrician recommends Female Cutting

Jewish Press
April 30, 2012

US Pediatric Doctor Favors Female Circumcision

By Yori Yanover
Dr. Hatem al-Haj, PhD, MD, a senior committee member of the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), has recently published a 41-page Arabic-language paper titled “Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine.”

According to the “Translating Jihad” blog, Dr. al-Haj explains why female circumcision is recommended and even “an honor” for women. This is the practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), FGM ” has no health benefits for women,” and causes “severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility, as well as complications in childbirth.”

The Translating Jihad blog was established in 2010 to provide translations of Arabic-language news, opinion, and fatwas related to Islamic intolerance, totalitarianism, and jihad.

According to TJ, Dr. al-Haj, a medical doctor and fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics, justifies his position by referring repeatedly to the words of classical Islamic scholars from the four schools of mainstream Sunni Islamic thought, all of which attest to FGM’s legitimacy under Islam. He also refers to the words of the Prophet Muhammad himself, who reportedly counseled people in his day on how to perform FGM in a way that would be “more beautiful to behold and better for [the woman's] husband.”