Circumcision — the removal of the foreskin from the human penis — is a common practice that has its origin in religious rites.
Recently, an opinion published online suggested that the rite of passage (as it is considered in most societies) should be done away with.
It went ahead to compare male circumcision and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), terming both as ‘painful and medically unnecessary.’
The article further highlighted reports of a one-month-old baby having his penis amputated in Egypt following an infection after circumcision and another case of two baby boys who died in Italy after the procedure.
“The psychological effects are likely to be greatly under-reported. People who have experienced sexual harm are often reluctant to reveal it as societal dismissal or stigmatisation may compound the harm.
“Defenders of male circumcision sometimes try to justify the practice by citing “health benefits.
“Throughout history, male circumcision has been advocated as a pseudo-medical cure for a variety of ailments ranging from TB to epilepsy to warts to excessive masturbation,” read the piece published on The Independent.
It also disagreed with literature that circumcision has health benefits: “A large proportion of the current medical literature purporting to show health benefits for male circumcision has been generated by doctors who were themselves circumcised at birth – often for religious reasons – and who have cultural, financial, or other interests in seeing the practice preserved.”
The article was strongly against circumcision in children, arguing that they should enjoy the freedom to grow up with ‘an intact body’ and be allowed to become of age before they decide whether they want the procedure or not.
According to the World Health Organisation, there is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.
Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well-trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe.
WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.
Nowadays, for many, the operation is performed in hospital and involves use of anesthesia.
Some communities, however, believe that it is a test of courage and should be done in the open in a traditional ceremony.
In December 2018, the exercise went horribly wrong in Bungoma as two boys died just moments after being circumcised.
According to doctors, the two developed a serious infection after the procedure.