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Female genital mutilation is a global problem

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By Mercy Kelani

FGM could affect sexual, mental and reproductive health of victims.

The United Nations General Assembly, in 2012, designated February 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation with the sole motive of amplifying and directing the strength on its elimination; although, it was firstly introduced in 2003. The World Health Organization (WHO) asserted that despite the fact that female genital mutilation has been in existence for over one thousand years, programmatic evidence predicts that FGM/C can be eradicated in one generation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all processes that involves altercation of the female genitalia for non-medical purposes. This act is recognized globally as a violation of the health, human rights and integrity of girls and women. Female genital mutilation is accompanied by short-term complications which include severe pain, excessive bleeding, difficulty with urination, shock, infections and long-term consequences that affect their sexual, mental and reproductive health. Primarily, this act is concentrated in 30 African and Middle Eastern countries, however, it remains a universal problem as it is also practiced in some Asian and Latin American countries.

Men and boys would support FGM elimination before 2030.

In the last two decades and half, there have been a global reduction in the prevalence of FGM. Current development has it that one girl out of three girls is likely to suffer FGM than in the last three decades. Nevertheless, sustenance of these achievements in the midst of humanitarian crises such as climate change, disease outbreaks, armed conflicts could slow the progress of achievements of gender equality and the elimination of FGM by 2030. Through sustainable partnerships with men and boys, FGM could be eliminated before 2030.

The voices and actions of men and boys are needed for transformation of solely rooted social and gender norms, thereby permitting women and girls aware of their potential and rights in aspects of education, equality, health and even income. For promotion of the elimination of female genital mutilation, there is a need for coordinated and systematic efforts which require engagement of whole communities and focus on gender equality, human rights, sexual education and attention to women and girls who are victims of its consequences.

Lowest FGM record in Nigeria is in the North East.

In Nigeria, female genital mutilation is prevalent with an estimation of almost 20 million survivors. Thus, Nigeria records the third highest number of girls and women who are victims of FGM across the globe. UNICEF warned that female genital mutilation is increasing among Nigerians girls between aged 0-14. These rates have risen from almost 17 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2018, while there was a reduction among Nigerian women between age 15-49 from 25 percent in 2013 to 20 percent in 2018.

According to Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, the harmful practice of female genital mutilation does not have health benefits but has negative impacts on the physical and psychological states of women and girls and must be eliminated according to the pledge of many Nigerian communities. In Nigeria, there are disparities in the practice. There is an apparent prevalence of FGM in the South East (35 percent), compared to the South West (30 percent) and the North East (6 percent) which is the lowest.

UNICEF to organize a movement to reach 5 million people to stop FGM.

For elimination of female genital mutilation in five Nigerian states – Osun, Ebonyi, Imo, Oyo and Ekiti states – the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is organizing a community-led movement. Five years ago, over 2 million girls and women are likely to have undergone FGM in the aforementioned states. The movement, tagged “The Movement for Good,” is designed to reach 5 million adolescent girls, boys, women, men, legislators, religious leaders, state officials and others through an online declaration to ‘say no’ to FGM.

Related Link

UN: Website

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