The campaign for male circumcision currently being carried out by the Ministry of Health seems to be bearing fruits as more and more men are getting circumcised. However, it is believed that it is better for a male to be circumcised while he is a baby, although most parents, especially mothers, are scared to put their baby through the operation. But what are the benefits? Cheu Mita writes.
If the operation has been arranged to be done at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital, then the surgeon will most definitely be Dr Leonardo Vigna. Parents are told to get admitted into the hospital at 6am. The baby should not take any food that morning as he will be going into surgery.
While in the ward, a day ward within Mwaiwathu, the anesthesiologist, Mrs Vigna, comes and briefs all patients about the process and procedures that will follow. The youngest go first for surgery since they get hungry earlier.
They are prepped for surgery by dressing them in hospital robes which are usually big sizes. As they are wheeled off to surgery, they are happy.
The procedure, in short, involves peeling back the foreskin, off the head of the penis, cleaning the smegma, and then cutting of the foreskin.
After surgery and once the anesthesia wears off, they will cry for a while before keeping quiet.
At that point, the job now rests on the mother in ensuring that her baby heals well. This she does with proper direction from Dr Vigna himself. Within three weeks, the baby is healed and all is forgotten.
Sarah, a mother of a one-year-old baby, said she was scared to allow her son to go through the procedure at first but decided to do it after being convinced about the benefits of circumcision.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know it will help my baby in future,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
For many people, circumcision holds religious and cultural significance.
But if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have religious reasons for circumcision, why would you? Well, many circumcised dads want their sons to look like them. But since only a minority of boys are being circumcised, that may not be the best decision.
Just as with Islam, circumcision is a fundamental part of Judaism.
According to the Jewish bible, the Torah, it should be performed when the boy is eight days old.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s medical evidence to suggest that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the best time to remove the foreskin, as the pain is least at that age.
While circumcision is not routine in Malawi, there are certain benefits this procedure may bring. If you are thinking of having your child circumcised, consult your doctor for more information and the best age to perform the surgery.
Some studies suggest that having your child circumcised may:
- Reduce the risk of penile cancer.
- Reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and consequent renal complications.
- Provide greater protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Eliminate the risk of phimosis.
- Reduce the risk of prostate cancer and now HIV infection.