Botswana tribe to resume make circumcision to fight HIV/AIDS

Gaborone- Botswana (PANA) -- The Bakgatla tribe of Botswana is to resume its age-long but abandoned tradition of male circumcision, after scientific studies revealed that circumcised males are less likely to be infected with HIV than their uncircumcised counterparts.
PANA learnt that negotiations between the tribe and the Harvard Institute in Botswana are on in an effort to resume the old cultural practice.
The aim of the negotiations is to come up with a solution which is both traditional and scientific.
The Bakgatla Paramount leader, Chief Kgafela Kgafela II, had told his subjects after his coronation that he was bringing back all the old Bakgatla traditions, which were lost to westernization, including the male circumcision.
The reintroduction of the (Bogwera) male circumcision was welcomed by the Harvard Institute in Botswana, and came at a time when several Non-Governmental Organisations in the country agreed to encourage male circumcision as a new strategy to curb the spread of the epidemic.
Dr.
Joseph Makhema of Harvard Institute Botswana confirmed the move and said (Bogwera) male circumcision was just a small element of a bigger epidemiological survey.
"Our interest is to find out what role the component of circumcision plays in a community model.
We are looking at Bogwera and circumcision or the fraction that can be attributed to circumcision in a community.
''However, I must point out that negotiations are still at an early stage.
It includes, among others, the overall HIV/AIDS incidence within the entire community, including getting interested people tested.
After completing our discussion, we will have to file an application seeking a board approval from the Minister of Health before we can start the project," says Dr.
Makhema.
The Bakgatla tribe has been practising male circumcision for centuries, but the practice - part of a male initiation process - faded with modernisation and reports that the knives used for the circumcision were a health risk.

16 november 2008 10:18:00




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