Friday, January 21, 2005

False Teeth Extraction the Silent Killer of Many Bagisu Children

A medical doctor writes about an African ritual which is killing many Ugandan children.

Mubezi Micah

FOR all the time I have worked in Mbale, I have seen numerous traditional practices ranging from circumcision (Imbalu) to the removal of "bones" from the abdomen. None of these, however, has led to more deaths than "False teeth extraction" FTE.

It involves cutting of the upper and lower canine regions of a baby usually between the age of one week to nine months.

Peak incidence is between three and four months of life. The practice is done once the infant develops her first episode of diarrhoea. It is believed "false teeth" cause diarrhoea and must be removed otherwise the child would die.

The "Dental surgeon" tries to control bleeding after the procedure by sucking out blood from the bleeding gums of the baby using his/ her mouth. Local herbs are then applied to the bleeding area. The parents and the child are then sent home or to hospital to complete treatment.

Over 80% of parents admit having done FTE on their children. The few who never do it have never lost a child after to FTE or their religion does not permit it among other reasons.

A teeth extractor I visited about one month ago in Bukonde village, Mbale district, showed me sharp bicycle spokes, razor blades and nails used for the cutting process.

Read the remaining article.

Wow, I have never heard of this!

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