Jinja: In some regions of the world, including Uganda, circumcision for babies is a prevalent practice with various reasons behind it. Whether driven by religious beliefs, family traditions, preventive healthcare, or personal hygiene, circumcision has sparked debates on its necessity. However, medical experts shed light on the advantages while emphasizing the importance of proper care and choosing sterile environments for the procedure.
Male circumcision has been proven to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection, a significant finding acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). In nations with high HIV incidence and low circumcision rates, the WHO advises circumcision as a priority intervention.
Dr. Eriatu Samuel, from the Jinja Islamic Medical Center, underscores the benefits of circumcision, which extend beyond HIV prevention. Circumcision can also lower the risk of human papillomavirus transmission from men to women, potentially preventing cervical cancer in women. Additionally, it reduces the likelihood of urinary tract infections in the first year of life and lowers the risks of penile cancer. Furthermore, circumcised males may face lower susceptibility to various sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in adulthood.
While circumcision offers numerous advantages, potential complications should be acknowledged. Sepsis, caused by the accumulation of pus around the wound, is a manageable risk associated with circumcision. Although mild bleeding and discomfort may occur, medical professionals discuss safe and effective pain management options with parents before the procedure. It’s crucial to note that adverse reactions to anesthesia, improper foreskin cutting, or infection risks must be carefully monitored.
Parents must be vigilant after the circumcision to ensure proper healing and recovery. Betterhealth.vic suggests seeking medical attention if persistent bleeding, discoloration, failure to produce a wet diaper within six to eight hours, fever, prolonged pain, or swelling of the penis occur. Additionally, any yellowish discharge or difficulty with the plastic bell (if used) falling off should prompt medical consultation.
Doctor Samuel stresses the significance of post-circumcision care. Cleaning the baby’s penis with soap and warm water daily helps maintain hygiene. Frequent diaper changes prevent infections from urine and feces. To prevent diapers from sticking to the wound, applying Vaseline or petroleum jelly is recommended. If the penis is wrapped in gauze, a fresh bandage with petroleum jelly should be used during diaper changes. Some physicians use a plastic ring instead of a bandage, which will naturally fall off after a few days.
For a safe and sterile environment, Dr. Samuel urges parents to choose hospitals for circumcision. Ensuring sterile tools and skilled staff minimizes infection risks. In contrast, opting for cultural circumcision, where instruments are reused without proper sterilization and untrained personnel perform the procedure, increases the likelihood of illness or infection.