Male circumcision is one of the most vital practices in Africa. It is considered as a rite of passage from childhood to manhood. This practice is mostly cultural-based depending on a particular community group. Certain values are attached to circumcision practice whereby the candidates are required to embrace. Age limit is a key factor in determination of the initiate in different communities.
Although the practice is highly valued by people in these African communities, it has greatly contributed in the spread of HIV. Initiates are also exposed to infections since some traditional surgeons do not sterilize the instrument after using it on other initiates. Some of the traditional leaders conducting the procedure in community setup are not well trained hence bleeding can be a major risk.
Consequences of the problem. Mortality rate has heightened due to wide spread of HIV via circumcision. In some cases, bleeding has led to deaths and complications in different parts of the continent. For instance, in the Eastern Cape, 453 initiates died while 214 initiates suffered penile amputations between June 2006and December 2013 (EC DoH 2013).
Current policy landscape. Deaths and other complications like infections can be prevented through engaging the health systems, traditional leaders, members of the community and the candidates. They need to have a common cooperation and understanding of the risks linked to circumcision practice and their consequences.
Policy Formulation. In South Africa, a thorough study of male circumcision was conducted to improve health of the initiates and reduce mortality rate. The study concluded that traditional leaders who are mainly considered as the custodians of the custom, to be engaged in the planning and progress of intervention programmes. In addition, Application of Health Standards in Traditional Circumcision Act was passed in 2001. The key motive of the Act was set health standards that require traditional attendants to embrace, in order to control traditional circumcision. This policy is to aid in the reduction of death rate and prevention of complications during and after the circumcision operation.
Policy Adoption Interest groups.
The Application of Health Standards in Traditional Circumcision Act is supported by the government and the local community having the clear knowledge of its benefits. On the other hand, the traditional leaders oppose the Act since they claim to be the sole owners of the circumcision custom. The local community and the initiates are influenced by the policy. There is need for the stakeholders to communicate clearly with the traditional leaders and explain the benefits of the policy for it to be adopted.
Traditional leaders should be fully involved in policy making for them to participate without rejection. The interventions and the findings of the research should be explained to them in details for a clear view. With this in mind traditional leaders will not feel left out at any point. The policy will be successfully adopted. Despite the fact that traditional leaders will comply, some community members will reject the policy based on their culture and religious beliefs.
The government avails the details about the health standards to all participants. Health systems are involved in surgical procedure of circumcision while traditional leaders are engaged in nursing the initiates. This policy will not hinder the initiates from attending the initiation schools.
Goldman, R. Questioning Circumcision. New York: Vanguard Publications, Oct 2015. Print. http://jewishcircumcision.org/book.htm
Gollaher, D. Circumcision: A History of the World’s Most Controversial Surgery. California: Basic Books, 2000.Print.