World Bodies condemn genital mutilation

Health News of Saturday, 7 February 2015

Source: GNA

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) violates the human rights and undermines the health and well-being of some three million girls each year. 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 on their lives is enormous. This was contained in a joint statement by UNFPA, UNICEF, the International Confederation of Midwifes and International Federation of gynacology and Obstetricians issued and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday as joint. According to the statement, worldwide, there is increasing commitment by communities and governments to eliminate FGM but said this was not enough. As the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the statement called on all health workers from midwives and nurses to obstetricians and gynaecologists to mobilize against this dangerous, deeply harmful practice. It said support of health workers in the global effort to end FGM was critical. The statement said front-line health workers had inside knowledge of the social dynamics in the communities they serve and the social norms that perpetuate FGM. They can therefore speed up the rapidly declining support for the practice. It said health workers also had a deep understanding of the harmful consequences of this practice. They see the urinary, menstrual, and obstetric complications including haemorrhage, infection and death caused by it. And, they also witness the emotional wounds FGM inflicts, trauma which often lasts a lifetime. The statement said health workers were also uniquely well-positioned to lead the effort to resist a disturbing trend that had emerged in many countries: The medicalization of FGM. Around one in five girls have been cut by a trained health-care provider. In some countries, this can reach as high as three in four girls. It said FGM is illegal in many countries, and medical providers who perform it in these places are breaking the law. The statement said in every country, whether legal or not, medical providers who performed FGM were violating the fundamental rights of girls and women. They are also lending tacit approval to this wrongful practice and defying the most basic precept of medicine: Do no harm. The statement called on all health workers to abandon the practice of FGM and to use their influence, not only in the communities where they work, but also with their colleagues to accelerate the abandonment of FGM everywhere. It appealed to health workers to protect the sexual and reproductive health of those who have already undergone FGM.

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World Bodies condemn genital mutilation

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