- Title: ALGERIA: Flurry of circumcisions take place in Algiers at Ramadan end
- Date: 7th September 2010
- Summary: ALGIERS, ALGERIA (SEPTEMBER 4, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRADITIONAL CELEBRATIONS MARKING CIRCUMCISION OF YOUNGSTERS
- Embargoed: 22nd September 2010 13:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Health,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA87CN34OQTT6PTU4I6N2QNOJNP
- Story Text: Algerian hospitals are filled with boys awaiting circumcision during the last few days of Ramadan, a time when many families choose to have the procedure performed. The rush to the hospitals is a result of the government's banning of independent circumcisers after a number of home procedures went wrong.
For years, Algerian families had been happy to circumcise their boys using uncertified clinicians offering to perform the procedures at family homes.
But an increase in the levels of infections and complications after the procedures led the government to outlaw mobile circumcisers and provide free hospital circumcisions in a bid to decrease health risks.
But the decision taken four years ago to only allow circumcisions in hospital leaves the surgery wards overfilled on one day of the year when Algerians traditionally prefer to have their sons circumcised.
"This is an important day for Algerians, the night of (day before) the 27th (of Ramadan) people here follow tradition and custom and also the teachings of the prophet tell us to circumcise boys on the 27th. This is why we have so many here today, Algerians like to circumcise their boys on the day before the 27th," said surgeon Boudjeline Bouziane, in reference to what is thought by many to be the holiest day of the Muslim year.
"We always encourage parents to bring their children to hospital, any hospital, to have their sons circumcised in good conditions," he added.
According to the health department, around 300,000 boys are circumcised during the last week of the holy month of Ramadan every year. Prior to the ban on home circumsicion, two percent of procedures conducted outside hospitals resulted in health problems, the health ministry says.
Urological surgeon Maidi Ouahid said the rush to hospital on Sunday (September 5), was a huge logistical problem that often sees an effect on the quality of surgery as doctors rush to get through the day.
"It's a nightmare for the surgeons and a pleasure for the parents who bring their son for circumcision. They believe the 27th of Ramadan is an exceptional day, so we find ourselves with about 150 to 200 children to circumcise, so we hurry and often rush work, which isn't very hygienic."
"The circumcision must be done at the hospital in the surgical wing by an experienced surgeon in order to avoid the two major complications of a haemorrhage and infection," he said.
Circumcision is the process of removing the foreskin of a penis. Muslims require any male to be circumcised before they get married, with the overwhelming majority choosing to circumcise their children at a young age.
"We came here to circumcise the children, may God bless them," said Mohammed, carrying his crying son straight after the procedure.
A U.S. study released in June showed that circumcision can reduce the likelihood of injuries or cuts obtained to the penis during sexual intercourse. Circumcision is widely believed to reduce the chances of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) such as HIV.
One study in July said 4 million new HIV cases could be avoided by 2025 across parts of Africa if the procedure was carried out on 80 percent of adult males and new-born babies.
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