Norway: Hospitals drop circumcisions

Norway: Hospitals drop circumcisions

Wednesday and Thursday two weeks ago, Danish-Palestinian surgeon Said Ahmed El-Batran from Aabenraa in Denmark circumcised 15-20 boys in the offices of the Muslim Faith-Society in Agder county (Norway).

"We naturally prefer to do it in hospital, but we don't get access," says Hamze Farhat who organized the joint operation among Muslims in the city.

In the winter the Southern Norway hospital in Arendal decided to no longer offer ritual circumcision.  The branches in Flekkefjord and Kristiansand decided the same.  The reason is lack of resources.

Urologist Ole Tysland at of the Southern Norway hospital in  Kristiansand says that circumcision is a custom many people bring with them, but it's difficult for him to see it being paid by the government.  They must prioritize among the endless stream of requests for treatment and since this is not needed for medical help, this group was simply moved down in the priority list.

A letter from the hospital in Arendal to the health centers and doctors in Aust-Agder refers to a private clinic which offers circumcision for 9000 kroner in Tønsberg and Drammen.

Imam Akmal Ali of the Muslim Union in Agder says that they think the public authorities should  take care of it.  "Circumcision is an important part of being a Muslim.  It's best if it take place early.  Traditionally in the first week.  On the seventh day the hair is cut, one is circumcised, the child gets a name and gifts of money.  The hospital lays a heavy burden on parents by referring to expensive clinics".

Hamze Farhat found the solution when he was in Denmark to circumcise his son in a clinic in Aabenraa, on the German border.

Said Ahmed El-Batran is a senior physician and specializes in surgery at the public surgical clinic in the city, and he also has a private clinic.

"I travel to Sweden and Finland too, and the problem is the same.  Preferably the operation should be preformed in hospital, but it's the politicians who decide.  So we arrange it in the best possible manner," says El-Batran.

He's considering starting a branch of his private clinic in Southern Norway.

"It's not just circumcision that's the problem.  Immigrants want to be treated by a hospital where they're understood," says El-Batran.

"I was afraid a little.  It was a little scary," says Yunus Dudajev (7).

Two weeks ago he and his brothers were circumcised.

"It was most certainly legal and in order, but I felt almost as I did something wrong.  The doctor wrote down the name and ID.  But I got no receipt, and I was a little concerned of infections.  The operation was not performed in a clinic, but in an office. Naturally I wish we could do it in the hospital," says father Dzjabraih Dudajev (34).

For a long time he's been trying to find a reasonable solution for circumcision.  He was therefore glad that he could sign up on the list in the Muslim Union mosque in Agder.

"It's not a Chechen custom, but an important Muslim act," says Dudajev from Kristiansand.

He paid 4,500 kroner all together to circumcise his three sons.  The same operation at the private clinic recommended by the hospital would cost 27,000 kroner plus travel expenses.  At home in Chechnya the operation would have cost about 400 kroner for all three, or about five hours of work.

Said Ahmed El-Batran says that the operation was according to regulations, and says everybody got receipts.  The room was prepared, he used medical equipment he brought with him and disposable items.

Source: fvn (Norwegian)

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