- Health experts and rights activists have pleaded with Kenyan doctors and nurses to halt female genital mutilation in their clinics, saying performing the cut was making it more acceptable in communities.
The officials said although Kenya outlawed FGM in girls under 18 in 2001, the harmful practice is still carried out in other communities. The UN statistics said 32 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had undergone the rite in Kenya.
Cutting or excision of young girls’ genitals is seen as a cultural or religious rite of passage in some communities. The vaginal opening is sewn up after the excision, leaving a small opening for sexual intercourse, childbirth and natural bodily functions.
United Nations Children’s Fund, child protection regional advisor Margie de Monchy said the value of medicalisation is being undermined because it is legitimising the procedure. “A healthy procedure for the cutting won’t stop the long-term effects,” she said.
Traditionally performed by midwives and religious leaders, FGM is increasingly being done by medical professionals, reports have said.
Last year, the United Nations passed a resolution that called FGM a violation of the rights of women and said it constituted irreparable, irreversible scars on women.
The resolution also said female circumcision increases the risk of HIV transmission, as well as maternal and infant mortality.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 100 million to 140 million girls and women have been circumcised worldwide, saying another 3 million girls are at risk of being circumcised each year.
The United Nations Children's Fund said the practice is extremely painful and traumatising, and can result in prolonged bleeding, a higher risk of HIV infection, infertility and even death.
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