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Mbale to Introduce Circumcision Ordinances

Traditional circumcision which is highly revered in Bugisu is carried out every even year and preparation for next year’s rituals are already in progress.

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Mbale district plans to enact ordinances aimed at regulating traditional circumcision rituals.

The ordinances which are due to be enacted by the district council stem from a need for safer circumcision.

They include a requirement for traditional surgeons to meet the candidates to assess their medical background prior to circumcising them. This according to the ordinance will enable the surgeons to know which cases can be referred to health units.

The surgeons have also been barred from circumcising several candidates using one knife.

Robert Wandwasi, the Mbale District Vice Chairperson, says the district council will also outlaw traditional dances popularly known as ‘imbalu’ which is performed after someone has been circumcised. He argues that the dance which normally takes place till late in the night encourages immorality among the youths.

But the suggestion to scrap the traditional dance has not gone down well with the traditionalists who revere the practice.

Haji Yusuf Wamboga a traditional surgeon from Busiu Sub-county says the dances should not be scrapped because they are venues for young men and women to get their suitors. He claims that the dancers are usually inspired by spirits and outlawing the practice will erode an important aspect of the Bamasaba culture.

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Wamboga says the practice should be left to fade out by its self because most poor families are already discarding it because they cannot afford the money and alcohol for relatives who gather for the rituals.

Meanwhile, the surgeons have been tipped on safe circumcision.

Dr. John Baptist Waniaye, the Mbale District Health Officer, says the surgeons should always seek post exposure paplaxis- a treatment that is offered for anybody who has got exposed to HIV/AIDS within seventy two hours of exposure.

Waniaye says the treatment will safeguard traditional surgeons who may get exposed to HIV/AIDS while carrying out circumcision.

He also warns them against circumcising anybody whom they suspect to be having penile elephantiasis. He explains that such a person when circumcised by a traditional surgeon can easily bleed to death.

Other cases that the surgeons have been warned against circumcising include those infected with sickle cell.

Traditional circumcision which is highly revered in Bugisu is carried out every even year and preparation for next year’s rituals are already in progress.

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