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Govt to ‘take action’ against medics who circumcise babies without consent of parents

West Budama North County MP Richard Othieno-Okoth told Parliament that there are complaints of medics circumcising infants without seeking the consent of their parents

PARLIAMENT- The Ministry of Health has threatened to take action against medical officers involved in forced circumcision of newborn boys.

The warning was passed by the State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties, Sarah Opendi, while responding to concerns raised by West Budama North MP Richard Othieno Okoth last week.

Okoth told the House that he has received several complaints from parents that they have been forced to have their male babies circumcised, especially in Busolwe Hospital in Butaleja District.

But the minister said medical personnel involved in such acts are engaging in an illegality and if found guilty they will be held liable individually.

“According to the Safe Male Circumcision Policy, 2010, medical male circumcision should be promoted and is available for all age groups. In Uganda, circumcision for males under 18 is carried out after written consent is obtained from the parents, guardians or caretakers while in males above 18 years, a written consent is sought from the individual before procedure,” Opendi said.

The minister said that only two circumcisions based on clinical diagnosis were carried out on babies aged two years and below in Busolwe Hospital and since then no other has occurred according to the records obtained from the Butaleja-based hospital.

In Uganda, circumcision for males under 18 is carried out after written consent is obtained from the parents, guardians or caretakers while in males above 18 years, a written consent is sought from the individual before procedure.

Sarah Opendi State Minister for Health

“The clinical diagnosis stated that both children had a condition known as ‘Phimosis.’ This condition occurs when a male baby is born with the foreskin closed, resulting into difficulty or painful urination and increased risk of uUrinary tract infections,” Opendi explained.

She said that this prompted the health workers to carry out circumcision in order to ease the passage of urine as well as reduce the baby’s risk to contracting urinary tract infections.

Opendi also asked MP Okoth to provide details of the children alleged to have been circumcised without the consent of their parents as well as details of their parents to facilitate a follow-up on their cases.

Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, also known as Safe Male Circumcision, is the surgical removal of foreskin of the penis, a practice that is undertaken for medical, religious or cultural purposes.

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