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UGANDA: Circumcised Women Shun Hospitals

THE fear of exposing mutilated genitals to midwives is forcing most Kupsabiny women in Bugiri district to produce from home, a health official has revealed. The Kupsabiny are found in Kapchorwa and Bukwo districts, but a sizeable number of them stay in Bugiri district.

Damalie Aseket, an official of the Bugiri district directorate of health services, attributed the fear of the expectant mothers to the shape of their genitals after mutilation.

“Many of the women after circumcision developed keloids or ugly lesions on their sexual organs, which they fear to expose to midwives during delivery time.”
She made the remarks last week during the 12th cultural day of the Kupsabiny, presided over by Bukwo Woman MP Evelyn Tete at Iwemba Primary School in Bugiri.

Tete cautioned the women against shunning hospital, saying it would endanger them and their babies.
“Why should you hide your genitals now after you indulged in the genital cutting as part of tradition?” she asked.

Tete said the practice of mutilating women’s genitals had to be opposed.
“I know everything about female circumcision. It has no benefit. This is why we are fighting to end it once and for all.”

Tete drove the audience into laughter when she revealed that men from Kapchorwa had shifted interest from women with mutilated genitals to those with impressive academic documents.
Aksoferi Cherenget, chairman of Kapchorwa district elders, said women circumcision had survived for long due to the ignorance of the locals.

“After realising that many of our mutilated girls dropped out of school to get married and the few educated ones who had escaped the knife were marrying elsewhere, the elders agreed to end the practice.”

He explained that the struggle to end female circumcision began in 1992 with the establishment of the elders association.

“Then in 1996 we asked President Yoweri Museveni to help us fight the practice and he immediately sent us an NGO called REACH. As I speak now, the struggle is yielding fruit both in Kapchorwa and in Bugiri.

“The final word now rests with Parliament, which should pass a law to give the final blow to the practice.”

SOURCE: New Vision

AUTHOR: George Bita

URL: Click here

DATE: 10/12/2007

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