Over 200 million girls and women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, (FGM) in Africa, Middle East and Asia. Most of these girls are between infancy and 15years. More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually.
This was made known during an online sensitization via zoom organized by the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Edo State Chapter.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, however some of these cases are performed by health care providers which is presently unacceptable. FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
A consultant Obstetrician and Gynacologist, Dr Francis Ekhosuehi, says FGM is recognised as harmful to girls and women both physically and psychologically and has no medical benefits.
He stressed that according to World Health Organization (WHO), any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external genitalia or any other injury such as pricking, piercing, incising, scrapping, cauterization to the genital organs for non-medical was dangerous.
The chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Edo State Branch,Iryn Omorogiuwa, further stated that with the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law enacted, it would seek to protect women and girls from FGM.
She noted that FGM violates the rights of the feminine gender, affects the quality of health-care they receive, causes some form of insecurity and affect their integrity.
Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Edo State Council, Mrs Catherine Eseine, noted that female genital mutilation problems has both short term and long term health dangers.
She explained that the short-term health dangers are sever pains, excessive bleeding, shock and Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV).
The cutting of the genital tissues with the same surgical instrument without sterilization could increase the risk for transmission of HIV between girls who undergo FGM together, urination problems, impaired wound healing, mental health problems among others.
She added that long time dangers of FGM occurs at anytime during life example pains, infections, painful urination and vaginal problems.
Ronke Ojiekere Initiator Society to Heighten Awareness Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA) stated that sensitization should be carried out in rural communities to educate people on the dangers of FGM because excuses most women gave are purely based on cultural and traditional reasons.
In her remarks, Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Woman Journalists (NAWOJ) Edo State Chapter, Comrade Adesuwa Ehimuan reiterated that stakeholders should take action to end FGM and all forms of Gender Base Violences (GBV) against women and girls both in the urban and rural areas to achieve the goals.
She said they must begin to educate and enlighten women on the dangers of FGM, using the opportunity to appreciate the facilitator and participants for attending the Zoom meeting.