To avoid complications, experts have urged those who want to circumcise their male children to patronise qualified professionals.
They noted that early male circumcision, if performed by qualified professionals, has less complications than in adolescence or adulthood.
According to them, early male circumcision should continue, adding that deferring or delaying male circumcision has no medical advantage.
There are arguments in some quarters that deferring or delaying male circumcision until the age of sexual consent will allow individuals to report pain and early signs of potential complications, which they claim infants cannot do.
But a medical expert and a child rights advocate who spoke with PUNCH HealthWise maintained that early male circumcision should continue, stating that complications are very low if performed by trained medical personnel.
A Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Dr. Bright Airhumwunde, said, “Male circumcision should continue. It has more advantages than disadvantages.
“In terms of argument for delaying or deferring male circumcision, medicine does not feature in any of the discussions on male circumcision.
“But for female circumcision, medicine has come to feature. We have seen the disadvantages well documented in the public space.
“Again, male circumcision is not the same thing as female circumcision. Instead, there are more advantages of male circumcision.
“Early male circumcision is better because the child doesn’t really know and the tissues are still very tender. It is even in adults that there are more pains and complications.
“In adults, you talk about pain management and other issues. So, early circumcision is easier than the late circumcision,” Airhumwunde said.
The gynaecologist stated that the use of modern devices like plastibell has reduced complications from early male circumcision.
Airhumwunde, who is a Minimal Access Surgeon and Fertility Specialist at Reddington Multispecialist Hospital, Ikeja, noted, “Complication rate in early male circumcision is very low if performed by qualified medical professionals. It is like ear piercing for women.
“In places where male circumcision is done properly, pain relief is actually given to babies before the procedure goes on. Early male circumcision should continue.
“Although male circumcision is more cultural than medical, we don’t, have enough evidence to work against early male circumcision.
“Those who want to circumcise their male children should patronise qualified professionals. I think that is actually the major thing.
“But waiting for the age of accountability is more of ethics and human rights issues.
“There is a conclusive evidence that female circumcision is wrong. But same cannot be said of male circumcision.”
He reiterated that male circumcision has no known advantages, unlike female circumcision.
“Male circumcision has advantages. It is known to reduce HIV transmission. Basically, it is not all bad.
“It is done for hygiene purposes and also prevents spread of urinary tract infection. So, when people are calling for an end to it, it is more of a cultural thing. I am not so certain that it is for medical reasons,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation serious complications among neonates or young boys are rare when the procedure is carried out by experienced providers.
“Several studies stressed the need for comprehensive training of circumcision providers, as complications are more common when the procedure is undertaken by inexperienced or poorly trained providers, or by those with inadequate equipment or supplies,” WHO said.
The world health body noted, “Circumcision occurs at a wide range of ages, and neonatal and male child circumcision is routinely practised in many countries for religious and cultural reasons.
“There are several advantages of circumcising males at a younger versus older age, including a lower risk of complications, faster healing and a lower cost.
“However, some parents may wish to wait for an older age for religious or cultural reasons, or have a preference to wait until the child can give consent for the procedure.”
Commenting on the issue, a child rights advocate, Munachiso Okoli, told PUNCH HealthWise that female genital mutilation is different from male genital mutilation.
“The reason for FGM is baseless and cultural. It’s just a belief, it doesn’t hold water; but MGM is done to prevent infections, dirt that can be hidden in the foreskin and bad odour, too.
“MGM is done in a hospital, mostly serene environment with the best medicare,” she said.
Okoli, who is the Coordinator, Girdle Network Nigeria, Abuja chapter, further said, “Well, I am saying that parents should do what they feel is healthy for their children.
“Personally, I would circumcise my baby boy because that is medically healthy for him. I wouldn’t want him infected or down with cancer of the manhood.”
Those championing delay in male circumcision say that like girls, boys have a right to grow up with their genitals intact and decide for themselves whether they would like to get circumcised or not.
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