“Mental Capacity,” “Sufficient Maturity,” and “Capable of Understanding” in Relation to Children: How Should Health Professionals Interpret these Terms? (Abstract)


The World Health Organization recommends that decisions about offering voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) to younger adolescents ages 10 to 14 be made after considering several factors based on new safety evidence, human rights guidance, public health burden and the delayed impact on HIV incidence, and the capacity of health care providers. Key human rights considerations include an adolescent’s capacity and cognitive maturity to provide informed consent and the roles of health care workers in the informed consent process and in providing adolescent-friendly VMMC services. This article, published in the South African Journal of Psychology, discusses the maturity and mental capacity of adolescents to make decisions about undergoing surgery, treatment, or HIV testing, as well as how healthcare professionals could evaluate that capacity in South Africa and elsewhere.

Type: Document
Year of publication: 2020
Resource type: Abstract
Languages: English