Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Must End

Female genital mutilation is the practice that involves cutting away partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. FGM has been practiced in many countries in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and in Europe and North America where the immigrants have come from these countries. An estimated over 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone some form of FGM and this number is growing by the millions every year.

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Female genital mutilation is a tradition practice among these countries and some of the reasons behind this practice include the following.

• Transition from childhood to adulthood.
• Controlling women’s sexuality by reducing her sexual desire.
• Ensuring her virginity and suitability for marriage.
• Clitoris and labia are considered masculine and removal of these parts enhance her femininity.
• Cleanses women’s genitalia and maintain her sexual purity.
• Enhances women’s fertility and survival of her children.
• In some societies, FGM is considered a religious practice.
• In some societies, FGM is a cultural tradition.
• Allow husband to enjoy more pleasure from sexual intercourse.

Female genital mutilation is carry out on young girls between infancy and under the age of 15, the age regarding this procedure also differ from community to community. In some societies, the procedure is carried out few days after birth and in some cases the procedure is carried out right after birth. The procedure is usually arranged by the mother and is performed by professional circumciser who may also play the role of a birth attendant.

There are four different types of FGM procedure that may be carried out and these include the following.

• Clitoridectomy is removal of the clitoral hood and partial or total removal of the clitoris.

• Excision is partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora. This procedure is the most common form of practiced.

• Infibulation is the most extreme form of practiced which involve partial or total removal of the clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora. The procedure also involves narrowing vaginal opening with stitches and leaving very small opening for urine and menstrual flow. This procedure is also known as pharaonic circumcision that involves binding a woman’s legs for 40 days until stitches adhere.

• Other harmful procedure involves pricking, piercing, incising, stretching, scraping, and cauterizing the clitoris and the labia.

There are many health complications associated with this form of practiced because most societies practicing FGM are extremely poor and do not have access to proper medical health care. The procedure may be performed by professional circumcisers but the tools and instruments used are not properly sterilized and the condition in which the procedure is performed is not properly sanitized and this can increase the risk of infections that cause many health issues.

There are number of immediate complications and long-term complications resulting from such practiced and these include the following.

Immediate complications may include haemorrhage (bleeding), shock, prolonged bleeding that leads to anemia, infection that causes delay healing, bacterial infections such as tetanus or sepsis, and urine retention.

Long-term complications may include bladder infections, urinary tract infections, blockage of menstrual flow, infertility, cysts, childbirth complications, increase risk of HIV infection due to unsterilized tools and instruments, later surgery is required to reopen narrow vaginal opening to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth.

Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights of young children, girl, and women. FGM provides no benefit but causes more bodily harm and such act is considered torture, cruel, degrading and violates a person’s rights to health. United Nations Agencies has set a goal to eliminate FGM globally within a generation. UN agencies have call on international and national organizations to increased support towards ending FGM.

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