SPECULATION is rife that foreskins removed after circumcision are being harvested for other purposes like cosmetic surgery, skin grafts or even witchcraft.
For long the media has been awash with stories of men who, after being circumcised, demanded their foreskins back or questioned health personnel what they would do with the pieces of flesh.
In 2014, Matabeleland South Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa (MDC-T) introduced a motion calling for a ban on circumcision of children under the age of 18, claiming that foreskins of circumcised men could be used for witchcraft.
Mlotshwa, who was supported by MDC-T Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava and Zanu PF Mashonaland Central senator Damian Mumvuri, demanded that those who carry out circumcision should give back their patients the foreskins.
But the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision in Zimbabwe (VMMCZ) this week said disposal of foreskins was done within stipulated rules and regulations.
“At law, health personnel are not allowed to give a patient his foreskin. These are burnt in an incinerator along with other human tissue like the placenta,” said VMMCZ national co-ordinator Sinokuthemba Xaba.
Speaking during a media forum convened by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the national co-ordinator for VMMCZ said every health facility was supposed to have an incinerator to take care of the human tissue.
In 2012, a Chiredzi man, who claimed to have lost his erection after being circumcised, approached an organisation that had mobilised the community for the campaign and demanded his foreskin back.
There has been a lot of unsubstantiated researches and information which claimed medicinal benefits of the foreskin.
In 2010 a report by Sierra Black writing for Babble, claimed that an infant’s foreskin has special cell properties, similar to those found in stem cells.
Their versatility means that they can be used to cultivate skin cells.
It was alleged that because of this, they were not tossed out with the rest of the medical waste after a birth.
Instead, hospitals sold them to companies and institutions for a wide variety of uses.
Xaba also dismissed reports that circulated on social media claiming that a man had lost the head of his reproductive organ during a botched circumcision at Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
“That was a mischievous story which never happened and the names of the so-called nurses were fictitious,” he said.