Dr Zul: Parents should ensure those carrying out circumcisions on their sons are certified

PETALING JAYA: Parents planning to have their sons circumcised during the school holiday should ensure the facility is registered with the Health Ministry, says Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The Health Minister said the matter was serious as data had shown an increase in the number of referrals to public hospitals for boys experiencing complications after circumcision.

"These complications include minor issues like bleeding and bacterial infections, as well as major complications such as injuries to the penis glans, severe inflammation and excessive skin removal requiring corrective or repair surgery.

"These complications, whether major or minor, undoubtedly cause distress and worry among parents and children, leading to mental disturbances and affecting the emotional development of the children themselves.

"The ministry takes this matter seriously and advises parents planning to have their child undergo circumcision during this school holiday to ensure that the facility is registered with the ministry.

"Parents are also advised to ensure that the circumcision programme is conducted by registered medical practitioners trained in performing circumcision procedures," he said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 22).

If parents intended to have their child circumcised outside a healthcare facility, the ministry recommended ensuring that the child was at least seven years old, as children at that age were more mature and mentally prepared, and had a normal physical and anatomical condition of the penis, which a doctor should verify before circumcision.

For children who did not meet these criteria, the ministry urged parents to seek advice from a doctor and medical specialist at any nearby healthcare facility.

Dzulkefly pointed out certain health conditions are not suitable for circumcision outside a hospital setting.

These conditions included abnormal physical or anatomical conditions of the penis such as hypospadias, buried penis, phimosis, and others; having bleeding disorders like haemophilia, von Willebrand disease and others; or special needs children like Down's Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and others.

"If parents feel that their children are unable to cooperate during the procedure, it is advisable for parents to reconsider proceeding with the circumcision.

"Parents can take the child to the nearest hospital for further advice and treatment.

"They should also bring the child to a nearby healthcare facility if complications arise after circumcision, such as bleeding, colour changes in the penis or surrounding skin, having fever, pain, and pus due to bacterial infections, difficulty urinating or any other concerns that require the advice of a medical practitioner," he said.

Dzulkefly noted the ministry had established a technical working group consisting of government and private medical practitioners to monitor circumcision activities in Malaysia.

"We also conduct continuous training for medical practitioners and foster close cooperation with private medical practitioners and non-governmental organisations involved in circumcision procedures."

He said it was essential to ensure the procedure was safe and free from any complications.

"Organisers planning to conduct circumcision programmes outside healthcare facilities during this school holiday must inform the ministry, as stated in the letter from the Health Director General, issued on Feb 9, 2024.

"The ministry hopes that parents, as well as government and private healthcare practitioners, will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of children undergoing circumcision procedures," he added.

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