Medically assisted circumcision: a safer option for initiation rites

Clement Manineng and David MacLaren
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00230
Published online: 17 November 2014

Culturally sensitive integration of medical circumcision could avert adverse effects at traditional male initiation rites

In many traditional cultures, male initiation rites involve circumcision practices that can sometimes result in medical complications. In a recent incident in the Northern Territory, three young men required airlifting from their Borroloola initiation site to Darwin for medical assistance.1 The risk of permanent harm and potentially fatal outcomes could be decreased if safer options were available during initiation ceremonies. In this article, we report that it is possible to provide safe circumcision at male initiation rites.

  • Clement Manineng1,2
  • David MacLaren1

  • 1 College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.
  • 2 Faculty of Health Sciences, Divine Word University, Madang, Papua New Guinea.


We thank Emil Trowalle of East Sepik Provincial AIDS Committee for his leadership in facilitating medical circumcision at male initiation ceremonies in East Sepik Province, PNG.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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