Hospitals struggle with botched circumcisions

July 5 - Hospitals in one region of the Eastern Cape are struggling to cope with the number of botched circumcision patients. There are not enough hospital beds in the OR Tambo region to deal with the demand.

LIBODE - The Eastern Cape is facing a crisis as the number of botched circumcision patients continues to escalate in the province.

Hospitals in the OR Tambo region report that they don’t have enough beds to deal with the increasing demand for medical treatment once a traditional circumcision is botched.

St Barnabas Hospital is one of the hospitals battling with the situation. The facility has run out of space, forcing officials to reopen an old and dilapidated psychiatric ward which had been closed for renovations.

“Twenty-five patients are being accommodated here and more are being admitted every day," said Doctor Lonwabo Sibembe of St. Barnabas Hospital to eNCA.

Nurses at the hospital say they are stretched as they try to care for the initiates and attend to other patients as well.

In the past two months, at least 30 boys have died as a result of botched circumcisions.

The situation has prompted the provincial health department to call on all involved to meet and find solutions.

“It's a problem considering the fact that other people that are sick with ailments are not being accommodated because there are no more beds,” said Eastern Cape MEC for Heath, Sicelo Gqobana.

Last year alone, 47 youths were killed in the province as a result of botched circumcisions. 

The House of Traditional Leaders and government launched an awareness campaign in three hotspots this year.  


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