The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, yesterday warned medical practitioners and health workers of grave dangers to the fight against Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM), should medical personnel collaborate with others in female circumcisions ,a term he caled “medicalization.”
The Minister spoke at a symposium organized by organised by the University of Ibadan Centre for Reproductive Health in conjunction with UN Population Fund and Federal Ministry of Health.
He said it was time to commit Federal Government resources and time to halt the unwholesome practice of FGM being medicalised and charged key stakeholders to take the message to their various networks, to enhance awareness on the issue.
The minister was represented by Dr .Kayode Afolabi , a director in the Ministry of Health.
Acting Country Representative, UN Population Fund, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy,lauded the efforts of the Federal Government in tackling the FGM menace .
Dr Eugene also said the magnitude of FGM in Nigeria is shocking because Nigeria constitutes 10 per cent of FGM cases , out of 200 million worldwide
.This means that Nigeria accounts for 20 million.
“25 per cent of women in Nigeria have had FGM and that is very shocking to me,’’ he added .
The scribe said it was shocking to realise that 12.7 to 13 per cent of the FGM cases in Nigeria were done by health professionals; which is unacceptable.
He added that UNFPA was working with partners to domesticate the Violence Against Person Prohibition Act (VAPP) in all states of the federation.
He said the domestication law was to ensure that whoever does such act (FGM) aided or abetted in the act would be answerable to the court for appropriate sanction.
He also stressed that the UNFPA is committed to have FGM eradicated by 2020
Speaking in the same vein , Prof. Oladosu Ojengbede, Director Centre for Population and Reproductive Health,(UNPRH) University of Ibadan, AA d that the culture of silence had negatively affected the sanctions for the erring people who administer Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
He revealed that about 11 states in Nigeria had laws banning FGM .
Ojengbede said the non-domestication of the laws across all states of the federation made it more difficult to enforce sanctions on the erring medical personnel engaged in medicalising FGM.
He, therefore, advocates for multi-sectoral efforts to end FGM in Nigeria especially in the five states with the high burden of the problem, which are Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Imo and Ebonyi states