Bukusu elders have warned churches and NGOs planning to provide parallel, free circumcision of boys to keep off.
“We don’t want this free circumcision by strangers who don’t even know our culture. They should offer their services elsewhere,” Bukusu cultural chairman Peter Masinde said.
Traditional circumcision of boys of between 10 and 15 years among the Bukusu, Tachoni, Kabras and Banyala communities commenced Wednesday.
The sons of the circumcisers were first to face the cut. Masinde said organisations which offer to circumcise boys for free in hospitals have nothing to offer for the cultural well-being of the community.
Medics in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma have called on the county governments to ensure high health standards are observed by circumcisers taking part in the exercise.
They want the knives used by the circumcisers to be sterilised to avert the spread of diseases.
“Studies have indicated that some boys contracted HIV and other STIs during circumcision since one unsterilised knife was used on different boys. We urge that this is avoided,” said Dr Isaac Chetambe, a surgeon from Kiminini.
The circumcision exercise takes place in August and December every even year where boys face the knife in broad daylight to mark transition from childhood to adulthood.
Chetambe further called on parents or guardians of the boys to take initiative and ensure the knives meet health standards.
“We don’t want to look like we are opposed to our culture but we are merely concerned about the health of our future generation since this is the same practice we observe when circumcising boys in hospitals,” he said.
On Monday, the circumcisers were trained by health experts.
At least 8,000 boys are expected to undergo circumcision in Kakamega, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and parts of Busia counties.
Each knife will be dedicated to one boy to avoid contracting diseases.
This is among the health and safety standards that have been put in place after traditional circumcisers completed preparations for the month-long ceremony.
In the past, one knife was used to cut several boys, a practice that was blamed for the spread of diseases.