Operation Healing Hands - OHH


Imagine truly wanting to uphold the traditions and cultures of your ancestors, but at the same time being afraid of what these traditions could mean for your health. This is a conundrum that thousands of young South-African boys face every year.

Staying true to tradition

Traditional male circumcision is regarded as a sacred and indispensable cultural rite to many South Africans. Each year thousands of youths in our country undergo circumcisions as part of their initiation. According to professor Kevin Behrens of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics at the University of the Witwatersrand, many of these initiates experience medical complications. Tragically, they end up needing treatment for things such as septicemia, gangrene, severe dehydration, and genital mutilation after being circumcised. 

The best of both worlds

Although not all traditional circumcisions went wrong, it was important for young South African boys to have the option to have medical circumcisions should they prefer it. Very few of these boys, however, can afford such a procedure.  

Operation Healing Hands, together with Advanced Health Day Hospitals, got involved by offering medical circumcisions – free of charge – to boys who meet the criteria, making it possible for them to avoid having the procedure done elsewhere.

Taking hands for a better future

The first ten circumcision-patients were operated on in June 2019 while another 10 was operated on in July during OHH’s Mandela Month campaign.  More circumcisions are scheduled to take place in 2020 and beyond. 

“Try, every day, to make a positive impact in someone’s life” one of OHH’s urologists, Dr. Neels Nothnagel had to say about his involvement in the project. A simple circumcision may seem like a small operation, but it truly makes a huge impact on the young lives of the patients who can now be proud of their traditions while being sure of their safety.

~Article by Magriet Stander


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