'113m Women Circumcised Yearly'

Despite the huge campaign against female genital mutilation across the globe, the harmful practice seems not to be abating.

According to an obstetrician in the University of Port Harcourt, Dr Henry Ogbomah, between 113-130 million women go through the trauma of genital mutilation in the world, every year.

Dr Ogbomah said the practice is prevalent in developing countries of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

He said female circumcision exerts enormous pressure on the economy, as expenditure which would have gone to develop other sectors are channelled into funding medical emergencies, adding that apart from leaving scary psychological wounds on women, it can also lead to death.

The obstetrician said Nigeria has one quarter of the circumcised population in the world and the highest number of cases relating to genital mutilation.

Making the disclosure at a forum organized by the department of Gender Studies, Graduate School of University of Port Harcourt, Ogbomah observed that extreme cases of genital mutilation compounds child birth, as it can lead to excessive bleeding.

He however, called for intense re-orientation, education and provision of social infrastructure to reverse the custom mostly practiced in the rural area.

The Head, Environmental Health Division of the, Ministry of Health, Dr Roseline Appah-Duke submitted that government would not relent in stamping out the practice.

She enumerated sensitisation campaign, posting and training of medical workers in the rural area as some of government efforts to address the malaise.

She also recalled that the Rivers State House of Assembly had passed a bill against female genital mutilation, but stressed the need for adequate enforcement of the law on those still carrying out the practice.

In her remarks, Prof Juliana Okoh said the programme was organized as part of the campaign against the practice, and noted that primitive customs capable of denigrating womanhood should be done away with.

She called on government to assist in the campaign against the harmful practice through funding of organizations which are ready to carry the campaign to the grassroots.

SOURCE: The Tide Online

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DATE: 01/02/2008

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