UKZN INVOLVED IN DRIVE TO IMPROVE RURAL CIRCUMCISION PRACTICES

UKZN INVOLVED IN DRIVE TO IMPROVE RURAL CIRCUMCISION PRACTICES

The DST/NRF Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Centre of Excellence with its hub at UKZN is working with a group of the University’s medical students to develop a pilot initiative in the Matatiele area of the Eastern Cape to improve circumcision practices in South Africa.

The initiative has national significance and implications given the potentially life-threatening circumcision practices happening in various parts of the country.

The intervention by UKZN medical students in partnership with the Centre of Excellence demonstrates a best practice on the interface between African traditional/indigenous and modern practices.

It also shows how the Centre and the UKZN African Indigenous Knowledge Systems Signature projects can contribute positively to community and national challenges in the health and medical fields for sustainable community livelihood.

This pilot project which involves research and training is informed by the observations made by UKZN medical students doing their HIV/AIDS and STIs awareness campaigns in traditional schools in the Matatiele area.

They observed that circumcision practices in the area were leaving a trail of ruin and despair among young rural men with little being done to improve the situation. They noted as medical students that some of the traditional surgeons were not fully equipped with the knowledge and skills of circumcision which led to a large number of septic outcomes leading to death.

There were lots of young men affected by this fatal situation but their number and actual circumstances were not officially known. There was therefore a need to conduct a pilot study in the Matatiele area which would inform government and other stakeholders about policy interventions necessary to help equip traditional surgeons with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform sterile and other appropriate procedures.


author email : kaya@ukzn.ac.za