Six died due to dotch circumcision


The health workers and Chiefs in North Rift counties have been put on high alert after six initiates died in botched circumcision rites in two counties.

There is massive circumcision rites among teenage boys currently on long school holidays commenced in November across several counties in the Rift Valley. The cultural exercise has turned tragic, with alarmed health workers revealing a shocking number of deaths and severe injuries in some seclusion shrines.

The deaths in Uasin Gishu were uncovered following visits by health workers and local chiefs in four areas where circumcision took place.

Public Health report dated December 6, and done after the visits in Kapseret indicated apart from the three deaths, five teenagers were fighting for their lives at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) Eldoret where another  one was receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit


Poor hygienicconditions, septic wounds and untreated water were also listed as causes of illnesses resulting in the deaths.

Other causes include poor handling of food as well as drunk and disorderly caretakers.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, Governor Wisley Rotich called for caution, urging caretakers to observe health standards.

“We have dispatched a team of medics to assess the situation across the county,” Rotich told The Saturday Standard on the telephone yesterday.

He said health teams at the Iten County Referral Hospital had confirmed the three deaths.

The County Chief asked caretakers to immediately report cases that needed specialist care.

Last year, Kalenjin elders led by Major (Rtd) John Seii said there was need for specialised care in environments where circumcision is conducted.

According to Mr Seii, very few deaths and initiates falling ill because of circumcision were recorded during the 1990s and before because the rites were done in seclusion, mostly in natural forests.

“We are recommending that initiates’ parents and elders should link every mass initiation ceremony to a health facility so that closer monitoring of initiates is done. The circumcisers and caretakers should be professionals who are cautious about the health of initiates,” the elder said.

Last December, a teenager who had just completed his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) tests died after falling sick in what doctors attributed to lack of proper medical care after undergoing the traditional cut in Lelmokwo, Nandi County. Two others died in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

16 others received treatment at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.


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