It is estimated that globally more than 200 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM). More will have died during the procedure or as a result of later health complications.
For many of these, the FGM will have been performed by a trained medical professional and may have taken place in a hospital or clinic. This is known as medicalised FGM and is seen by campaigners as one of the significant risks to the global campaign to end the practice. They fear it can legitimise FGM and undermine efforts to change attitudes and bring about the eradication of this harmful tradition.
28 Too Many’s new report investigates the growing involvement of health professionals in FGM and highlights what actions need to be taken to reverse this dangerous trend. Medicalised FGM remains a very risky procedure and does nothing to mitigate the fact that this is a severe form of violence against girls and women, a violation of their human rights and has life-long physical, emotional and sexual implications for survivors.
“In June 2013, it was heart-breaking to hear that thirteen year old Soheir Al Bataa died as a result of a medicalised FGM procedure but we hoped this would lead to change. However a few weeks ago seventeen year old Mayar Mohamed Mousa died during a FGM operation in a private hospital. Both these cases were in Egypt but medicalised FGM has increased in a number of countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Northern Sudan, and Yemen, and in many of these countries one-third or more of women had their daughters cut by trained medical staff, “ explains Hoda Ali, 28 Too Many Trustee and FGM survivor.
Hoda continues, “As a sexual health nurse and anti-FGM campaigner, I work alongside many health care providers who are dedicated to their patients’ welfare and who are powerful advocates against FGM. There can be no excuse for doctors and other professionals to carry out FGM. I hope that this report accelerates the work already taking place in medical organisations to make sure all staff are trained to respond appropriately to FGM and stand against it.”