A group of 31 male professional nurses in the Eastern Cape Department of Health (DOH) who are responsible for the oversight of traditional circumcision programmes have been undergoing specialised training in preventing and stopping bleeding in boys suffering from Haemophilia.
Haemophilia is a bleeding disorder that affects mainly males, about 1 in 10 000 boys.
Last year 47 deaths occurred amongst initiates from the Eastern sector of the province.
Statistically, some of these would have been due to bleeding complications, according to Richard Johnson of the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation, which is funding the training.
Circumcision ceremonies are conducted twice annually with, about 55 000 youths participating in the ceremonies.
This means that, out of every intake, statistically six could be haemophiliacs.
Candidates for training were selected by Mzukisi Mawonga, Manager Circumcision Programme. “Haemophilia management is essential because it will eliminate any stigma that is attached to boys when they go to hospital to get their clotting factors.
“Now it will be possible for them to get their factors whilst they are in their circumcision lodges with minimised risks.
“The benefits coming to our communities from this programme will be deeply appreciated,” he says.
This was echoed by Sizwe Khuphelo EC DOH spokesperson, who added “the boys must also tell us about these conditions before they go for circumcision because now we can ensure they are safe while still maintaining respect for the traditions”.
The Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation project in the Eastern Cape is administered by Port Elizabeth’s Igazi Foundation.