Medical and health practitioners have been supported with skills to provide non-surgical remedies for survivors of FGM in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
The training of doctors who specialize is caring for women’s health was facilitated by Doctor Amr and Doctor Reham of RestoreFGM Egypt.
The event was organized with Funding support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by a non-governmental organization, The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD), in collaboration with Ekiti State Ministries of health, education and women affairs. The programme was designed to raise awareness and commemorate Zero Tolerance Day To FGM 2024.
Also, a consultant and Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Prof. Olofinbiyi Ajayi charged participants to seek knowledge so as to be able to better respond to the needs of survivors in Ekiti state and Nigeria
In her opening remarks, The UNFPA representative, Mrs Uzoma Adedeji said the UNFPA is committed to the fight against Female Genital Mutilation in Ekiti State and Nigeria at large, hence the support and charged the participants to use their good office and skills as health care providers to support the survivors who needs non-surgical or surgical remedies as the platform was created to foster mutual relationship among key stakeholders in the fight against FGM in Ekiti State.
The Executive Director of NIGAWD, Abimbola Aladejare-Salako in her remarks described FGM as a harmful and outlawed culture practice which has no benefit, whatsoever to the girl child and must be abandoned. She disclosed that NIGAWD had led a far reaching campaign against FGM across the length and breath of Nigeria and Africa by taking the advocacies to schools ,market places, palaces, communities, as well as religion institutions.
The NIGAWD boss therefore enlisted the support and cooperation of the trained medical doctors and health workers in achieving a zero tolerance for the FGM in Ekiti State.
She used the ocassion to highlight some existing legal frameworks on FGM in Ekiti.
“It is worrisome that Ekiti has the highest FGM prevalence rate in the Southwest and second in Nigeria with 57.9% according to NDHS 2018 and 50.1% according to MICS 2021 reports, therefore the support of the doctors and nurses are needed to stop this harmful practices.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Women affairs, Mrs. Olatilu in her goodwill message lauded the synergy between the government and non government structures and interventions in the #ZeroTolerance to FGM efforts with the support of UNFPA and pledge that the ministry will not rest on her oars until the negative cultural practise is totally abolished in the state.
Facilitators included Dr Ibrahim, Director of Public Health, Ekiti state Ministry of Health, Mrs Akinleye, Director, Ministry of Women Affairs.
According to Doc. Olofinbiyi Doctors were still discovering new cases of FGM in Ekiti in spite of the ongoing efforts to end it. He identified Medicalization as the main issue affecting the fight against FGM alleging that some health workers still indulge in the act, he therefore charged them to stop.
The medical expert also decried the situation where some health workers often hijacked FGM and making it appears less harmful under the guise of Harm Reduction Strategy.
“Let me tell you this, in 2016 a research was carried out on 200 babies and to our utter disgust, 60 were cut and we later discovered the perpetrators were mostly health workers. Even the so-called traditionalists don’t do as much as this. We have a lot of work to do in Ekiti and we have to dig deep into the providers and sensitize them on the dangers inherent in the outlawed practice.
The training is very apt, because nobody can be an island of knowledge. The weapon of Medicalisation, no doubt, makes the practice of FGM to thrive in our society.”
“Nobody can be an island of knowledge. Weapons of medicalization makes FGM to shrive. Some of us have hijacked FGM and making it less harmful under the guise of harm reduction strategy. You are infringing on the fundamental human rights of the innocent girls. Many gaps to cover in Ekiti.
The medical consultant said early diagnosis, also revealed that most women in Labour has one variance of FGM or the other. The most unfortunate aspect of it ,is that many of these mothers would still go ahead to cut their babies.
Some participants, who gave commitment to be fully involved in the advocacy also recommended stiffer sanctions for violators of the FGM laws in Ekiti. They also promised to explore all available opportunities to campaign and advocate the establishment of survivors group where issues on FGM can be discussed and where they can easily get assistance. They equally called for regular training and retraining of medical personnel.