Eight initiates have died from botched circumcisions in the first week of this season in the Eastern Cape, the province’s health department (ECHD) confirmed to News24.
ECHD circumcision senior manager Dr Luvuyo Bayeni said they expect more deaths this season. He said two of these deaths occurred earlier on Friday morning. The majority of these were in the Chris Hani District Municipality.
Bayeni said in one case, the initiate complained to his father of chest pains, but the father did not take him to hospital.
In another case they are investigating, Bayeni said the initiate’s father also refused to take him to hospital. He died in the early hours of Friday morning.
“We find that the reluctance to consult with medical doctors comes from the parents or the community and not from circumcision schools,” Bayeni told News24.
Bayeni said although high death tolls during the circumcision season are in the Chris Hani Municipality, they do not have a single doctor in the area approved by the House of Traditional Leaders (HTL).
“Ideally, we want to get to zero deaths and we would be happy to get a doctor in each forum. The challenge there comes from HTL who dictate and approve doctors to consult at the initiation school. We are not happy with the number of doctors we have but we have to respect HTL’s rules.”
He told News24 they have deployed seven doctors to OR Tambo Municipality and two doctors at Alfred Nzo Municipality.
He said they released 35 vehicles to monitor different initiation schools in the Eastern Cape for six weeks to the helm of R2m to reduce deaths this December.
Lizeka Tandwa, News24