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UNICEF vows to prosecute health workers engaged in FGM

The child protection specialist said health workers are forbidden from performing genital mutilation on a female child.

• August 30, 2021
UNICEF logo used to illustrate the story

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that it will prosecute health workers that indulge in the medicalisation of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist, Enugu Field Office, Victor Atuchukwu, said this at a three-day sensitisation on FGM organised on Monday in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo.

Mr Atuchukwu decried the medicalisation of FGM and warned medical personnel who engaged in the practice to desist forthwith or risk prosecution.

He said the programme was targeted at healthcare providers in public and private clinics.

He said it was organised by UNICEF in partnership with the state Ministry of Gender Affairs and Vulnerable Groups.

According to him, a Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) research in 2018 put the percentage of girls and women that underwent FGM at 20 per cent for women aged 15-46 and 19.2 per cent for girls aged 0-14 years.

Mr Atuchukwu further said that studies indicate that globally, an estimated 200 million girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM.

He denounced the obnoxious practice, describing it as unethical.

He said it contradicted the stipulations of the World Medical Association, which require health professionals to swear an oath not to inflict any harm on their patients.

The UNICEF health expert, therefore, advised health workers to imbibe professionalism as a way of setting good examples for others to emulate.

“Health workers in Imo and elsewhere in Nigeria are forbidden from performing FGM.

“Although FGM performed by a medical professional in a clinic or a hospital may reduce some of the risks of the practice to an extent, it does not take into consideration the reason the girl is on the operating table in the first place.

“UNICEF will prosecute healthcare workers who indulge in the medicalisation of FGM as a way of preventing non-professionals from engaging in the obnoxious practice and reducing the spate of FGM,” Mr Atuchukwu vowed.

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