Kenya on the spot after alarming global ranking on FGM by doctors

A Pokot girl cries after being circumcised in a village about 80 kilometers from the town of Marigat in Baringo county, October 16, 2014. /REUTERS
A Pokot girl cries after being circumcised in a village about 80 kilometers from the town of Marigat in Baringo county, October 16, 2014. /REUTERS

Kenyan has been ranked third among countries with the most cases of medicalisation of female genital mutilation.

A study by Unicef and the Africa Coordinating Centre for the Abandonment of FGM places Egypt first with a rate of 75 per cent.

Sudan comes second with 50 per cent and Kenya third with 40 per cent.

The study was carried out in 2016 and was followed by preliminary researches on the outlawed practice. Reports on these researches are yet to be released.

The study resulted in a panel discussion in Nairobi on Wednesday on the medicalisation of the practice, which refers to performance by doctors and other members of the medical profession.

The discussions took place on Tuesday during a three-day conference on ending FGM.

The subject was 'Tackling medicalisation of female genital mutilation in Kenya' and the

moderator was Guyo Jaldesa, a member of the Africa Coordinating Centre for the Abandonment of FGM (Accaf).

The panelists were

Dr Christine Sadia, chairperson of the Kenya Medical Women Association;

Dr Sheikh Mohammed, alternate PS in the Ministry of Health and a member of the anti-FGM board and

Edna Tallam who is registrar and CEO of the Nursing Council of Kenya.

Jaldesa noted the harmful practice has no medical benefits for women.

"It has not been proven anywhere that FGM has benefits. What has been proven is that it has adverse health implications on the lives of girls and women," he said.

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hampering the fight against FGM so lawmakers and activists want the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board

to revoke the licenses of doctors found culpable.

Sadia said:

"FGM is not a disease. If a doctor who is under oath works on parts that he or she was not supposed to work on, all he or she is doing is mutilating someone's body."

Girls were previously cut during puberty but with Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011, circumcicsers have not only resorted to using doctors but they also cut infants.

Saidia added: "What is shocking is that children below four years undergo the cut. Young girls are suffering."

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Mohamed said action will be taken against those found culpable.

"Sometimes cultural influences can cloud one's professional judgment but we must also remind ourselves that our duty is to safeguard the rights of patients, not destroy them." he noted.

Officials from the doctors board and the nursing council said no health worker has been reported to the two organisations for mutilating girls in hospitals.

Equality Now manager of the End Harmful Practices officer, Jean-Paul Murunga, said doctors should not bow to societal pressure and use it as an excuse to carry out FGM.

"FGM is a crime. Doctors performing it should stop saying they were pressured. If they gave in to pressure, why did they take the Hippocratic Oath?"