Today being the 6th February, 2018 is the sixth year of celebrating zero tolerance to this non beneficial practise. The theme “Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is a Political Decision” have been chosen to draw the attention of relevant stakeholders, or we be at the risk of losing more young girls and women to this practise.

This article is centred on educating the general public of the non beneficial effect of this practise and the need for relevant stakeholders to aid the eradication of FGM/C

What is FGM/C?

FGM/C is an acronym for female genital mutilation and cutting. According to World Health Organization (WHO) it can be defined as all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons.

This practice is often carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women. Currently this practise is still being carried out in some parts of Africa, Asia, Middle East, South America, and other Diaspora populations like Australia and Canada.

What is the situation of FGM/C in Nigeria?

According to the UNICEF report in her document titled “Basic facts about FGM/C”, Prevalence of girls and women aged 15-49years who have undergone FGM/C in Nigeria is (27%), and this is the third highest absolute number of women/ girls who have undergone FGM/C worldwide (after Egypt and Ethiopia).

What are the different types of FGM/C?

Type 1 (Clitoridectomy): Partial or total removal of the clitoris, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

Type 2 (Excision): Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).

Type 3 (Infibulation): narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.

Type 4 (Unclassified): all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

Why does Nigeria still practise FGM/C?

Various individuals, communities and cultures have their unique reasons why they still practise FGM/C despite the consistent discussions on its abandonment. They include;

  1. To help ensure a woman remains a virgin until marriage
  2. Hygiene. Some communities believe that the external female genitals that are cut (the clitoris or the labia or both) are unclean.
  3. Rite of passage. In some countries, FGM/C is a part of the ritual that a girl goes through to be considered a woman.
  4. Condition of marriage. In some countries, a girl or woman is cut in order to be suitable for marriage.
  5. Belief that FGM/C increases sexual pleasure for the man
  6. Religious duty, although no religion’s holy texts require FGM/C.

Conclusively, the effects (haemorrhage, depression, infections, Urinary tract infection and eventually death), of FGM/C are overwhelming and all individual support as well as stakeholders is needed for its eradication.

Flying Doctors Nigeria’s CSR (Corporate Social Response) program focuses on gender and women’s empowerment

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