FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
Information is one of the keys to the survival of mankind. The success of every phase of human endeavour lies solely on the availability of information at his or her disposal. Everything we can behold is a finished product of information some people identified, nurtured, and worked upon. It is obvious that when you are not informed, you will definitely be deformed. When you are not well equipped with relevant information you need, you will not be ignorant of so many things in life.
I attended a training workshop some weeks back and I will like to share my experiences with my followers on this blog, so that they will be well informed too. The workshop focused on CAMPAIGN AGAINST FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM). Just come along with me.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
The World Health Organisation defines FGM as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitals, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (WHO 2008).” FGM results in physical and psychological health consequences that vary according to the type of cutting and personal experiences. As such, FGM impacts on the sexual, reproductive health and rights of women. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. UNICEF estimated in 2016 that 200 million women living today in 30 countries 27 African countries, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen have undergone the procedures. It is a worldwide plague against the womanhood. It is a harmful practice that is deeply rooted in tradition and upheld by the unequal power relations between men and women and the desire to control women’s sexuality.
CLASSIFICATIONS OF FGM
Type 1: Excision of the prepuce (partial or total) removal of clitoris. (Sunna/Clicoridectomy).
Type 2: Excision of the prepuce and the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora (inner lip).
Type 3: Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (Infibulation or Pharaonic Circumcision).
Type 4: Unclassified, which include all other injuries pricking, cutting, piercing or cauterization. Example: Gishiri cut on the oedematous cervix during labour, to prevent obstructed labour.
REASONS FOR FGM
The following are the assumed reasons for FGM.
- To reduce sexual desires in women to curtail promiscuity.
- To promote virginity before marriage.
- To ensure husbands sexual pleasures.
- To promote social integration.
- Initiation of girls into womanhood.
- Hygiene and aesthetic reasons.
- Religious reasons.
- Family honour.
- Myths (story from ancient time: baby head touching the clitoris makes clitoris growing longer.
Findings from the medical practitioners and other researchers on the subject matter show that all the reasons are baseless. The damages have multiplier effects on the victims. The consequences of FGM are devastating and sometimes cause physical, medical, emotional even death to the victims.
IMMEDIATE AND SHORT TERMS CONSEQUENCES OF FGM:
- Anaemia: (Low blood level).
- Shock: ( Hemorrhagic/Neurogenic).
- Acute urine retention.
- Injuries to the adjacent structures: urethra, vagina, rectum etc.
- Fractures and dislocations during this act.
- Poor wound healing.
- Infections: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B Virus.
- Death from profuse bleeding and infections.
LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES 1:
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection.
- Cysts formation.
- Vulva abscesses. (Accumulation of pus in the vulva).
- Pelvic infections/ Pelvic Inflammatory Disease).
- Haemaocolplus/Haematometria. (Accumulation of pus in the vagina or uterus).
- Vulva ulcers (Open wound around the external genitalia).
- Clitoral Neuroma.
- Keliods formation (Swelling from the scar tissues).
- Infertility (Inability to have babies).
LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES 2:
- Fistulae formation (Recto-vagina Fistulae, Vesico vagina Fistulae).
- Menstrual Disorder: (Irregular menses or absence of menses).
- Extensive Scar formation.
- Vulva Stenosis.
- Prolonged/Obstructed Labour (Difficult Labour).
- Perineal tear.
- Primary and Secondary PPH and Blood Transfusion (Severe Bleeding After Delivery).
- Pelvic Haematoma (Accumulation of blood in the birth canal after delivery).
- Intervention in labour is common; caesarean sections.
- Prolonged hospitalization after delivery.
PSYCHOSOCIAL AND SEXUAL CONSEQUENCES:
- Dyspareunia/Aparenia (Painful or inability to have sexual intercourse).
- Reduced or no sexual satisfaction (Frigidity).
- No desire for sex.
- Fear and suppression of feelings.
- Feeling of low self-esteem.
- Mental and psychosomatic disorder.
- Constant feeling of betrayal, bitterness and anger.
- Puerperal Psychosis/Maternity blues due to trauma during delivery.
- Poor interpersonal relationship.
- Birth Asphyxia due to prolonged labour or obstructed labour (Failure of the baby to cry after delivery).
- Birth injuries due to difficult delivery.
- Intrauterine Foetal Death (IUFD).
- Still Births.
- Early Neonatal Deaths.
- Celebral Palsy (Injury to the foetal brain).
REASONS FOR CAMPAIGNING AGAINST FGM
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a violation of women’s rights such:
- Right to life, liberty, and security of the person.
- Right to privacy.
- Right to health care and protection.
- Right to benefit of scientific progress.
- Right to freedom from all forms of tortures and ill-treatments.
- Right of equality and freedom from all forms of discriminations.
- Right of the girl child.
- To promote gender equality and equity.
- To reduce maternal morbidities and mortalities.
- To reduce neonatal and infants morbidities and moralities.
- To reduce the incidence of infertility and other gynecologic.
WHERE DO YOU STAND, FOR OR AGAINST FGM?
Adapted from Doctor LEKAN AWOLOLA’s presentation
CONSULTANT OBSTETRICIAN & GYNAECOLOGIST
STATE SPECIALIST HOSPITAL
August 07, 2020