The United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF) has warned that 68million girls would be subjected to the Female Genital Mutilation , FGM, by 2030, unless the action to end it is accelerated now.
This was contained in UNICEF’s article about FGM, to mark this year International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation being celebrated 6th, February each year.
According to UNICEF, FGM has no health benefits and often leads to long-term medical complications, including severe pain, prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and even death.
It added that the practice can also lead to increased risk of HIV transmission, and that women who have undergone genital mutilation can experience complications during childbirth, including postpartum haemorrhage, stillbirth and early neonatal death.
FGM was also described as a violation of girls’ and women’s fundamental human rights, noting that at least 15–49 from 30 countries have been subjected to the practice.
UNICEF however lamented that, despite the efforts to discourage the FGM, qualified medical practitioners now play a significant role in performing it.
“More than 20 million women and girls in just seven countries (Egypt, Sudan, Guinea, Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen and Nigeria) have undergone female genital mutilation by a health care provider.
“Medicalizing the practice does not make it safer, as it still removes and damages healthy and normal tissue and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.
“In many communities, the practice has been driven underground rather than ended, leading to girls being subjected to cutting at younger ages amidst greater secrecy“, says UNICEF.
Highlighting its efforts so far to eradicate the practice in Africa, UNICEF noted that since its joint programme with UNFPA in 2008, 13 countries have passed national legislation banning FGM.
It states that the joint programme also provided access to prevention, protection and treatment services for more than 3.3 million girls and women.
“As a result of a community-led engagement, more than 34.6 million people in over 21,700 communities made public declarations against FGM.
To end the practice, UNICEF therefore calls for protection and care services for girls and women, laws, and political commitment at the local, regional, national and international levels.