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We often hear the procedure Circumcision without much knowledge of exactly what it is. The following is to elaborate on how each sector views the procedure and what is actually means to it.
Health :Circumcision is the surgery that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue covering the glands of the penis)
Culture: Circumcision is a boys journey from childhood to manhood
Religion: A journey taken as a duty to God or a way of confirming ones dedication to their faith (www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictioner.com)
We then hear about the procedure being essential for the boy child, without understanding why. The following is to elaborate further on why each sector does this procedure and why it is considered essential
Health: In the medical world circumcision is done because of healthy precautions. The skin of the foreskin contains unique cells called the Langerhans cells, that’s attract the cells that produce HIV and sexually transmitted diseases . The foreskin can also suffer small tears or bruising from friction during sex, making it vulnerable to infections. When circumcision is performed, there is a reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men. Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.
Culture: African tribes ( such as the Xhosa, Sotho and Mpondo) practise as a way of defining a boy’s journey from childhood to manhood. It is seen as a statement of masculinity and s throwing away of any ‘feminin’ aspects. Also performed amongst Australian communities and the people if Fuji islands, Sameo and Tonga. They perform the procedure as a rite of passage and an act of hygiene. Procedure known as ‘non-therapeutic’ or ritual circumcision
Religion: There are two major religious groups performing this ritual. The Islam and the Judaism
Judiasm- Circumcision is a statement of Jewish identity and an act of faith.
Islam – Circumcision is an act of submission. It is viewed as an act of cleaniness and the statement of identity.( HYPERLINK “http://www.medic8.com/healthyguide/circumcision/religious-reasons.html” www.medic8.com/healthyguide/circumcision/religious-reasons.html)
With a procedure considered so essential. There has to be benefits to the procedure. The following is to point out benefits of the procedure in each of the three sectors.
Health : A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted disease such as HIV. There is less chance of bruising and tearing during sexual intercourse thefore there is enhancement is ones sexual life. It is easier to keep the penis clean (www.brotherforlife.org/medical-malecircumcision-mmc.html)
Culture : Give one a sense of confidence and self respect. Having to endure the harsh conditions is being truly masculine. Being formally passed on to manhood matters a lot, especially in the villages. There will be different treatment to those circumcised traditionally and those who took the medical route. In some cases, cultural circumcision does help with the behaviour of the boy child.( observations of the stereotypes in my village)
Religion : There are two major religious groups performing this ritual. The Islam and Judaism
Judaism – ” Statement of Jewish identity”
Islam – ”Statement of identity”.
It is evident that in both religious groups the major benefit is the sense of belonging that is very essential in the human psychology.( HYPERLINK “http://www.medic8.com/healthyguide/circumcision/religious-reasons.html” www.medic8.com/healthyguide/circumcision/religious-reasons.html)
With such a controversial issue and the different views. The procedure is performed in different ways with different ideas and goals.
Health : Often done by an obstetrician, family medical doctor, surgeon or urologist. An anetshetic is given via injection or cream to numb the penis. The major methods of circumcision are the Gomc clamp, the Plasticbell device and the Mogen clamp. Works by cutting off circulation to the foreskin to prevent bleeding when the doctor cuts the foreskin. Procedure takes about 15-30 minutes in babies but about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 min in adults (www.healthlin.com)
Culture: This part of the procedure is not well documented as it is considered confidential.
Religion: There are two major religious performing this ritual. The Islam and Judaism.
Judaism – The ceremony is called bris. It is carried out on the 8th day following birth. It is performed at baby’s home or synagogue in the Sabbath day. It is performed by ama (a mohel), a male specially trained in this procedure (www.medic8.com/healthyguide/circumcision/religious-reasons/html)
The road to recovery after having the procedure done
The affected area will be bruised and swollen for 2-3 weeks. Urination may be painful for a few days or weeks.
There are a few suggestions on how to make the journey a better one.
Wearing underwear that hold the penis in place, rather than loose- fitting boxer shorts
Drink plenty of fluids to dilute the acidity of urine and reduce pain.
Lie on the side, rather than the back
Do not use antiseptic cream or other creams that aren’t prescribed, this can interfere with the healing process.
Total recovery takes 6 weeks. This course must be done without any sexual intercourse.
With all that has been gathered from this research. This research believes that the procedure circumcision is indeed an essential one. Considering all the mentioned benefits contributed by all sectors, namely Health, Religion and Culture, circumcision is actually the wellness of ones social, spiritual and sex life. With the article presented it is evident that majority complications and deaths arise from the cultural sector of circumcision. This is then caused by the young male nurses given the responsibility to handle this procedure (Bhekisisa article). When these young inexperienced young man takes care of the boys, a lot of things can go wrong, which might lead to medical complications including fistulas (Bhekisisa article), which can then lead to the loss of a penis. It is weak when they go through that pain and still get blamed, claimed to be weak and as cowards. Initiates are even deprived water , they get allowed approximately half a cup of water a day. This makes things worse. The initiates stay in a small tent made up of plastic, grass and wood (Pictures of the Inxeba movie), and it is constantly burning. Plastics retains heat, initiating excessive sweat, leading to dehydration which is the most common and biggest cause of complications and even deaths with the cultural procedure.
This research would therefore like to make recommendations.These recommendations will be to answer the last and major question. Yes it possible for the procedure to be done in harmony with both the cultural and religious sectors.
The first recommendation is that the initiated are circumcised in clinics or by trained practitioners at least two months before they go to the actual mountains to formally be initiates. This will to totally avoid infections. The environment at these valleys and mountains is a harsh one, it consist of stagnant freshwaters that is the only source of water the initiates have. So they bath and even drink the very same water. This water has a lot of bacteria and diseases that putting the initiates at higher risk of infections.
Another recommendation would be that if the initiates cannot get circumcised two months prior the actual ceremony. Then it would be nice to have medically trained males around at the initiation place to just overlook all the healthy precautions necessities.
Table of contents
What is circumcision
Why is circumcision done
What are the benefits of circumcision
How is the circumcision procedure performed
Answers the research questions
The road to recovery after the circumcision procedure
Graphs and Quantitive findings from Statistics South Africa
Interviews. (Doctor, Pastor/Reverand and a boy who got circumcised)
Statistics South Africa- Statistical release P0309.3
Name : OnesimoSurname: SwanaGrade: 12
Subject: Life Sciences
Nature of task: Research Project
Topic: Circumcision: Health , cultural and religious issues to the procedure
Topic: Circumcision: Health, Cultural and Religious issues to this procedure
What is circumcision?
Why is circumcision done?
What are the benefits of circumcision?
How is the procedure, circumcision performed?
Is it possible to have the procedure of circumcision done in harmony with the cultural, health and religious debates around it?
Circumcision is such a controversial issue. There is a huge debated on the procedure is considered sacred. This procedure was done even BC, Genesis 17:10-14 is evidence to this statement. This procedure has been a rapid reason for young boys death. Is this procedure still necessary to do, and if yes, can it not be done in a modified way that includes the health, cultural and religious sectors.
This research is to look at all three sectors surrounding circumcision. View all sides of their debated and make recommendations of whether the procedure, circumcision shoud still be done, and which is the best way to perform the procedure.
This research will be conducted in a literal manner, as books, the internet, interviews(with authorized people), the bible and a movie will be used as part of the research.
Interviewed person name:
With your own perspective, what is circumcision
Why do you think that circumcision is essential
Do you think that the sectors of circumcision, namely health, culture and religion can work in harmony, together to increase chances of survival
Under what conditions is the procedure done
What are the inconveniences of not having the procedure done?
This research has taught the writer about the positives and negatives of circumcision. It has been enlightened in the research that the procedure circumcision is not the initial reason for the death of young boys but the conditions those young boys are under. It is the question of healthy, safe precautions that is crucial during this period of the procedure until complete recovery. It can therefore be concluded that the procedure is essential. And that the procedure ,must be done in harmony and consideration of other sectors, such as culture and religion. But, priority above all, is the life of others. Even though culture and religion should not be compromised, the lives of initiates must not be sacrifice to societies prejudice about culture and religion.
The community, cultural and religious leaders should work together with the police and health sectors to secure the safety of initiates .