Ebonyi, Imo records high prevalence of FGM practice-UNICEF

Ebonyi and Imo states in South Eastern Nigeria have maintained very high prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation recording of 61.7 % and 53.2 percent respectively well above the national prevalence average rate at 20 %.

The United Nations Children’s Fund in its report on Imo,Ebonyi and Environ On The FGM/C Thematic Focus Independent Investigation  and Media Reporting on The Practice released in Enugu to commemorated the 2020 International Day Of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation with theme “ Unleashing Youth Power” said 17 %  percent of women age 15-49 believed that their religion requires FGM.

While addressing journalists in Enugu on Wednesday, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh described FGM as harmful practice which has severe health and psychological consequences.

He disclosed that girls who undergo Female Genital Mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

According to him, the theme of this year’s international day of zero tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is seeking “active youth’s participation in the fight against the obnoxious and harmful FGM practice, with huge focus on mobilizing youths for elimination of harmful FGM practices”.

Dr. Conteh urged stakeholders to accelerate steps towards stopping the practice, by adopting coordinated and systemic efforts, promoting policies and positive actions leading to the elimination of female genital mutilation, while engaging communities with focus on human rights, gender equality, sexual education and attention to the needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.

“Today, UNICEF joins the world in marking the 2020 International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) with theme “Unleashing Youth Power.”

“Female Genital Mutilation or cutting FGM/C is a human right violation against girls and women”.

“It is a harmful practice which has severe health and psychological consequences. It severely affects the rights of women to reproductive health, emotional stability and well-being and denies their opportunity to fully utilize their potential to socio-economic development of their society. It impacts negatively on the life of women”.

“FGM comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women”.

“Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health”.

“Further, the 2018 NDHS reveals 19 % of girls’ ages 0-14 are circumcised. Seventeen per cent of these girls are circumcised before their first birthday. FGM among girls is most common girls, whose mothers are cut (56%), whose mothers have no education (24%) and those from the poorest households (27%)”.

“FGM among girls is most commonly performed by a traditional circumciser (82 %), while 7 % are performed by a medical professional”.

“Seventeen percent of women age 15-49 believe that their religion requires FGM. Two-thirds of women believe that the practice should be stopped”.

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