Circumcision of boys in Senegal is culturally sensitive and potentially a serious health issue. Circumcision is seen as a rite of passage from one stage of life to another more important one. In Muslim West Africa, it is essential that the procedure be performed before adulthood, and it is absolutely required before marriage. Maison de la Gare does what it can to support the children that it serves in this process, while respecting the traditions that surround it.
When families have the necessary means, boys are usually circumcised at birth in the hospital. For other boys, their opportunities to become circumcised are limited and not particularly safe. Many boys, particularly older ones, get enormously disabling infections due to this procedure, a consequence of the unsterile environment in which the procedure is carried out and where they have to recover.
This September, Maison de la Gare selected 30 boys to undergo the procedure and to recover safely from it in the MDG centre in Saint Louis. The boys ranged in age from 4 to 17 years old. A local doctor volunteered to do the procedures, and then followed the boys’ healing over the following week. Canadian nurse Karen Hornby supported by volunteer Ann Pille managed their pain during this week, with the help of Tylenol and some antibiotics provide by Health Partners International of Canada. They found it enormously satisfying to be able to support the boys through such a critical time in their lives.
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