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January 19, 2019

Parents, health workers collude to mutilate girls during school holidays

Embu Gender, Culture, Children and social services CEC Dr Joan Mwende speaking at Country View Hotel on October 2 2018
Embu Gender, Culture, Children and social services CEC Dr Joan Mwende speaking at Country View Hotel on October 2 2018

Embu families and health workers have been warned against condemning girls to female genital mutilation.

Gender, Children and Social Services executive Joan Mwende yesterday said some parents have colluded with nurses, clinical officers and doctors to have their girls secretly undergo FGM.

She urged residents to be on the lookout and report any neighbour whose daughters “are not seen playing in the neighbourhood” during the December holiday. 

Mwende said the practice is rampant in Mbeere South and some areas of Mbeere North, Manyatta and Runyenjes.

"Some parents have been colluding with health workers and their daughters are admitted to hospitals and circumcised. They fake prescription notes to the effect that the girls are being treated for diseases like acute malaria," she said.

FGM is illegal in Kenya. It has many health risks, including recurrent urinary and vaginal infections, chronic pain, infertility, blood loss, swellings, and increased labour pains. It is traumatic and also linked to poor education as some girls drop out of school. It also interferes with social and marital sex life.

The county government is trying to monitor girls in the villages. Those found committing the crime will be prosecuted. The Gender Affairs department is working with the National Aids Control Council and the Anti-FGM Board to educate residents on the need to protect girls against the cut. 

Mwende said some parents have refused to drop the backward practice, despite efforts against it.

The county has also partnered with the national government in the anti-FGM crackdown. Security agencies are trying to tackle the problem.

County commissioner Esther Maina said health staff who collude with parents will face “dire consequences” if they carry out FGM.

“We don’t care about your employer, friend, brother or sister, or what you are. Know that FGM is unlawful in Embu and all over the country. If you want to commit a crime, then don’t think Embu will be your haven,” Maina warned.

Churches have also supported the anti-FGM campaign. Embu clerics said they would excommunicate their members who allow or force their daughters to undergo FGM.

They said FGM is evil and criminal and criticised clerics secretly involved in it. They said they will campaign against it at church services and burial ceremonies.

 

 

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