UNFPA calls for action against female genital mutilation
ARGUING that it violates the human rights and undermines the health and well being of 3 million girls every year, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called on health workers to abandon the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Speaking at a session at the 50-anniversary celebration of the Society for Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Nigeria (SOGON) in Abuja at the weekend, the United Nations agency urged health workers to protect the sexual and reproductive health of those who have already undergone FGM.
UNFPA noted in a statement, “More than 130 million girls and women in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated today have undergone some form of FGM, and the impact of their lives is enormous.
Meanwhile, a join research conducted by UNFPA and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has identified six Nigerian states with the highest burden of female genital mutilation and called for urgent policies and programmes to check the menace.
The preliminary report of the female genital mutilation situation assessment in six states of Nigeria, according to UNFPA Programme Analyst, Dashe Dasogot shows the Osun has 76.3 per cent prevalence, Ekiti 71.2 per cent prevalence, Oyo 69.7, Ebonyi 55.6 per cent, Imo 48.8 and Lagos 44.8 per cent prevalence.
Nigeria’s national prevalence is put at 24.8 per cent.
The body called for action plan with concrete actions towards accelerating the abandonment of the practice Nigeria
The UN agency noted that health workers were uniquely well positioned to lead the effort to resist a disturbing trend known as medicalization that had emerged in many countries including Nigeria.
“Globally, around one in five girls have been cut by a trained health-care provider. Some countries, this can reach as high as 3 in 4 girls. FGM is illegal in many countries, and medical providers who perform it in these places are breaking the law.
But in every country, whether legal or not, medical providers who perform FGM are violating the fundamental rights of girls and women. These are lending tacit approval to this wrongful practice and defying the most basic precept of medicine. Do no harm,” UNFPA said.