Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Every year February 6 is marked as the day of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
● It is the procedure which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
● It is recognized as a violation of human rights and the health and integrity of girls and women.
● FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
● FGM can cause severe bleeding, problem in urinating, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
● FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.
● FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
● FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered acceptable sexual behavior. It aims to ensure premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is in many communities believed to reduce a woman's libido and therefore believed to help her resist extramarital sexual acts.
● FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are clean and beautiful after removal of body parts that are considered unclean, unfeminine or male.
● Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
● WHO defines four types of FGM:
o Type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans).
o Type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva).
o Type 3 (infibulation, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal).
o Type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area).
FGM-A Financial burden
⮚ The economic costs of treating health complications of FGM stood around $1.4 billion in 27 countries.
⮚ This amount is expected to rise to $ 2.3 billion in 30 years (2047) if FGM prevalence remains the same. However, if countries abandon FGM, these costs would decrease by 60% over the next 30 years.
What can be done?
In order to counter FGM there is need to focus on:
Strengthening the health sector response:
o Provide training to health care providers to counsel FGM affected girls.
o Create awareness in order to prevent the further occurrence of the practice.
o Generating knowledge about the causes, consequences and costs of the practice.
o Finding solutions to abandon the practice and take care of those who have experienced the FGM.
o Developing publications and advocacy tools for international, regional and local efforts to end FGM.
o Develop tools for policy makers and advocates to estimate the health burden of FGM
o Estimate the potential public health benefits and cost savings of preventing FGM.