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GHANA: FGM Will Be Eradicated in 2025 - Women Group

THE PRESIDENT of the Ghanaian Association for Women Welfare (GAWW), Mrs. Patience Ali, has announced that the association was working vigorously to eradicating the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ghana by 2015.

The president announced this at a training workshop, on information and communication, for media personnel in Bolgatanga.

She defined FGM as partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs, whether cultural or for any other non-therapeutic reason, and said in almost every country of Africa, there is evidence of the practice of FGM.

Mrs. Ali revealed that about 120 million women and girls have undergone FGM worldwide, with an annual estimation of 2 million girls being mutilated. She said about 15-30% of women and girls in Ghana have undergone the practice.

In 1995, a research by the Navrongo Health Institute, on the extent of the practice among the Kassena Nankanas in the Upper East Region, revealed that 77% of all women of reproductive age in the northern district of that area had undergone FGM.

Again, Dr. Odoi Agyarko's research in 2003 revealed that 85% of women in the reproductive age in Bawku area had undergone the practice. She said last year, a survey conducted in a Day Nursery at Bawku revealed that 6% of the female children had been mutilated. This has put Bawku in the lead in the whole of Ghana.

She said in the Volta Region, it is commonly practiced in Jasikan, Kadjebi, Nkwanta and other parts of that region, where there are large settlements of the Kotoklis and Basaris from Togo. The practice is still common in secluded areas in the Upper East, West Northern and Brong Ahafo regions.

Mrs. Ali emphasized on the pains and trauma that victims of this outrageous practice go through. "It is a pain that a woman can never forget. You cannot compare it to childbirth," the President bemoaned.

She said there were four types of FGM, but gave clitorisdectomy, excision and infibutlation as the common types. Among these, the type 1 (clitorisdectomy) is commonly practiced in Ghana, and in some African countries. It is partial or total removal of the clitoris.

According to her, shock due to sudden loss of blood or severe pain, urinary tract infection, complete closure of vagina orifice, tetanus, possible HIV and Hepatitis B transmission, and sometimes death, are immediate hazards of the practice.

Among several reasons for the practice are preservation of virginity, bravery of womanhood, the prevention of still births and improvement of fertility. With the latter, some groups believe that the clitoris has power to kill a baby, if it comes into contact with it during childbirth.

Secretion from the clitoris, they believe can kill sperms.

To achieve their target, of total of eradication FGM by 2015, the Secretary of GAWW, Mrs. Eunice Maasodong, appealed to all and sundry to come on board with their support and expertise.

She observed that the Ghanaian media had been invaded by political issues, and charged media personnel to attach importance to social, economic and human interest issues for the betterment of society.

SOURCE: allAfrica.com

AUTHOR: William Jalulah

URL: Click here

DATE: 23/02/2008

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