Health Insurance for all Nigerians by 2030 Now Realistic—NHIA

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has said it will intensify efforts to eliminate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria as it pursues the realization of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 2030.

This was announced by the Minister of Women Affairs, Ms Dame Tallen, at the launch of the Movement For Good To End FGM in Nigeria organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Ms Tallen noted that the procedure of FGM has no health benefit for girls and women.

FGM involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional practitioners.

Speaking, she said, “Available statistics show that Nigeria has the highest number of cases of FGM in the world accounting for about 115 million out of 130 million circumcised women worldwide.

“The South-South zone with 77 per cent among adult women has the highest prevalence of the practice in Nigeria. This is followed by the South-East zone with 68 per cent and South-West zone with 65 per cent. The Northern part of Nigeria is also not free from this practice.”

She describes “FGM as a traditional practice worldwide on girls and women and it is widely recognized as a violation of human rights, which is deeply rooted in cultural beliefs and perceptions over decades and generations.

“The outcome of FGM are adverse pain and haemorrhage, infection, acute urinary retention following such trauma, damage to the urethra or anus.

“During the procedure, the victim would struggle through an experience which leads to chronic pelvic infection, dysmenorrhea, retention cysts, sexual difficulties, obstetric complications, bleeding, prolonged labor leading to fistula formation among others. The mental and psychological pain attached to FGM is considered the most serious complication because the problem does not manifest outwardly for help to be offered.

“The continuous practice of FGM denies girls and women the right to quality education, opportunities for decent work and their health particularly sexual and reproductive are threatened.”

The United Nations (UN) Resident, and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Matthias Schmale said the prevalence of FGM amongst girls up to 14 years old is still on the rise.

Mr Schmale said 86 per cent of these children were mutilated before the age of Five, meaning FGM is greatest in the early years of life.

“What this tells us is that the perpetrators of this harmful practice are devising ways to circumvent surveillance and diminish the gains recorded over the years towards the eradication of FGM in Nigeria, by targeting children who neither know nor understand the enormity or magnitude of the practice they are being subjected to,” he said.

He explained that the practice of FGM which is handed over from generation to generation and culturally justified is no longer acceptable.

He noted that this practice violates women’s and girls’ rights to life, health, and dignity as well as their bodily autonomy.

“The time to end FGM in Nigeria is now and the responsibility to do so lies with us all,” he said.

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, on her part said at least 200 women worldwide have genital mutilation and more might be affected in the coming years.

Ms Blatmann said FGM contravenes the rights of every woman.

“Indeed to promote the elimination of this scourge, coordinated and systematic efforts involving everyone are needed,” she said.

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