Lawyer Miguna Miguna rubishes the idea of Mandatory male penis partly cut to male

Lawyer Miguna Miguna has rubbished plans for the introduction of a draft bill that seeks to make male circumcision mandatory to primarily help reduce sexually transmitted infections including HIV/Aids.

The drafter of the Bill, Mukurwe-ini MP John Kaguchia, wants the government to provide the service free of charge at all public health facilities under the supervision of medical professionals to guarantee safety.

“In the recent past, minors have been maimed while undergoing circumcision as a rite of passage in the absence of trained medical professionals,” Kaguchia told the National Assembly’s legal counsel Andala Eshitsimi in a letter dated November 7, 2023.

But Miguna on Monday dismissed the intended piece of legislation as one that seeks to impose the cultural practices of one community on others.

“You can’t impose a cultural practice of some ethnic groups over others. MPs should focus on legislation that addresses the needs of all Kenyans. Not ethnic chauvinistic ones such as this. If they pass it, the Courts will and must strike it down,” Miguna said in a statement on his X handle.

In Kenya, some communities revere male circumcision as an important rite of passage for boys into adulthood while other communities assign no particular importance to it and never practice it.

In his proposed law, Kaguchia wants the practice made mandatory across the country for males performed anytime between birth to when they are 18.

He argued that circumcised males have a substantially reduced risk of contracting HIV, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and other STIs.

“The Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) has noted that male circumcision decreases the risk of acquiring HIV through heterosexual intercourse by between 50 to 60 per cent,” he told Eshitsimi.

In his response, Eshitsimi said: “We are working on the instructions and will get back to you in due course”.

Health benefits of male circumcision

Males who undergo circumcision mostly do so voluntarily, influenced largely by information on the preventive health benefits, safety and risk factors of the procedures as well as ethical, religious, cultural, familial and economic considerations.

However, CDC encourages health care providers to inform all uncircumcised adolescent and adult males that male circumcision reduces, but does not eliminate, the chance of acquiring HIV and other STIs during heterosexual contact.

“Those patients who choose to be circumcised should be offered medically performed circumcision services and information on HIV prevention,” the CDC says on its male circumcision and HIV prevention fact sheet.

According to the CDC, male circumcision can reduce a male’s chances of acquiring HIV by 50 per cent to 60 per cent during heterosexual contact with female partners with HIV.
It says the observation was arrived at following data acquired after three clinical trials.

Circumcised males compared with their uncircumcised counterparts have also been shown in clinical trials to be less likely to acquire new infections with syphilis (by 42 per cent), genital ulcer disease (by 48 per cent), genital herpes (by 28 to 45 per cent), and high-risk strains of human papillomavirus associated with cancer (by 24 to 47 per cent).

“While male circumcision has not been shown to reduce the chances of HIV transmission to female partners, it does reduce the chance that a female partner will acquire a new syphilis infection by 59 per cent,” CDC notes.

Health risks of male circumcision

Minor bleeding and inflammation have been cited as the most common complications although overall, the risk of adverse events associated with male circumcision is low.

A CDC analysis pegs the risk among infants under 1 year following medically attended circumcision at 0.4 per cent, about 9 per cent for children aged 1 to 9 years and about 5 per cent for males aged 10 years and above.

“More severe complications can occur but are exceedingly rare. Adult men who undergo circumcision generally report minimal or no change in sexual satisfaction or function,” CDC said.

Reported deaths in Uasin Gishu

On December 7, Uasin Gishu County issued an alert over the death of several initiates in circumcision shrines in the region.

County Chief Officer of Health Dr Joyce Sang did not give the exact number of deaths but confirmed that several had succumbed after falling in the shrines.

Dr Sang issued a circular to health officers in the county to immediately visit the shrines and report on their conditions.

“It has come to my attention that during November and December, several initiates have fallen sick after circumcision as a result of complications arising from the circumcision,” Dr Sang said in the circular dated December 6, 2023.

She instructed the health officers to get records on the dead and report on the same by Monday, December 11.