WATERFORD NEWS, Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland, Friday, 23 January 2004.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Circumcision service has to secure funding

By Aileen Mulhall

A REPORT has recommended that circumcisions of male babies for religious or cultural grounds be carried out at Waterford Regional Hospital, but the new service won’t be introduced until it secures Department of Health funding.

The report has been produced by an internal South Eastern Health Board committee set up following the tragic death of a 29 day-old baby Callis Osaghae in Waterford last August due to a botched illegal domestic circumcision.

South Eastern Health Board spokesperson Audrey Lambourn said the Health Board will have to obtain funding for the new regional service before it can be introduced at Waterford Regional Hospital.

The funding will be required to finance the circumcision surgical procedures, the medical personnel, who will carry them out, and post-operative care facilities. According to the report, the circumcisions will be carried out under general anaesthesia by a surgeon with training and experience in this area.


The internal committee estimates a maximum of 100 children a year from the region will require circumcisions on cultural and religious grounds.

It points out that the majority of these children will be from refugee/asylum families, who are not in a position to seek medical intervention.

“If the Health Board does not provide a service, they will continue to access individuals, who lack the experience and expertise.

“The procedures will be carried out in an unsafe environment with the consequences we have witnessed,” the committee concluded.

The SEHB group made its recommendation that the Health Board provide a regional circumcision service at WRH in the absence of national guidelines on circumcisions for religious or cultural reasons.

A group, chaired by Prof. Denis Gill of the Royal College of Surgeons, is currently drawing up these national guidelines in this area for the Department of Health and Children.

The SEHB report states the medical conditions, which require a circumcision to be carried out in childhood or later are rare.


It points out that male circumcision is considered by many Jewish and Islamic people to be essential to the practice of their religion and they would regard any restriction or ban on male circumcision as an infringement of their basic fundamental rights.

According to the report the majority of people from Africa, irrespective of their religion request circumcision for their children for cultural reasons and points out that the baby boy, who died in Waterford following a botched domestic circumcision last August, was an African Christian.

(File created 26 January 2004)