From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

A survey, funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in Oyo, Osun and Ekiti States, has shown that in spite of the gains that have been made in the reduction of the practice, its prevalence in the three states is still significant.

The report of the survey, which was carried out under ‘The StopCut Project’, of the HACEY Health Initiative, a development organisation focused on improving the health and productivity of vulnerable and underserved populations in Africa, noted that the result has indicated the need for intensified efforts towards the abandonment of the practice.

The StopCut Project Lead, Miss Oluwatomi Olunuga, presented the report to journalists on Thursday at Ibadan Business School, to commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th), which also featured launch of various publications and a video documentary on FGM.

The event brought together high-level representatives from United Nations agencies, the European Union, government ministries, non-governmental organisations, media houses, and other key stakeholders to engage participants towards amplifying the End FGM messages, advocacy, and campaign activities carried out by stakeholders as well as increase awareness on the prevalence of FGM.

According to the report, “the prevalence of this practice reflects the number of people who were circumcised at the time of this raid. It also reflects the extent of FGN and calls for interventions to be implemented to reduce the practice’s continuation. Our study revealed that over 50 per cent of women of child-bearing age in the three project states – Osun (76.8 per cent), Oyo (51.8 per cent) and Ekiti (52.6 per cent), have been mutilated.

“The findings from Oyo and Ekiti States reveal a 3.3 per cent and 10 per cent reduction in the prevalence of the practice, compared to the 2016-2017MICS study. However, there was a nine per cent increase in prevalence of FGM in Osun State in comparison. While gains have been made in the reduction of the practice of FGM, the prevalence in the three states remains significant, indicating the need for intensified efforts towards the abandonment of this practice.”

The StopCut Project also delved into the prevalence of FGM among girls that are below 14 years, saying more than a third of women in the study areas had a mutilated child, which represents an increase of more than 10 per cent in recent FGM practice “when compared to the 2016-2017MICS study.”

The study revealed that 37.7 per cent of girls of age zero to 14 years in Osun, 43.4 per cent in Ekiti, 31 per cent in Oyo have been mutilated. It further showed that majority of the girls less than 15 years were circumcised between zero and five months of age, Ekiti has 86.1 per cent, Osun has 82.2 per cent, and Oyo has 93.9 per cent. But for those circumcised between six months and five years, Osun has 17.8 per cent, Ekiti has 13.9 per cent, and Oyo has 6.1 per cent.

The study also sought to know the perpetrators of the FGM and the findings revealed that traditional circumcisers known as ‘Oloola’ in Yorubaland, healthcare practitioners and traditional birth attendants have been responsible for the practice till date.

“The study asked women with mutilated female children who performed the procedure; findings corroborated recent trends with the major perpetrators of FGM in the study, being traditional circumcisers, followed by healthcare practitioners. In Ekiti State, 31.5 per cent of the recent practice was conducted by health practitioners, while 37.6 per cent was performed by traditional circumcisers, and 23 per cent by traditional birth attendants.

“Also, in Osun State, 60.6 per cent of recent cutting was performed by traditional circumcisers, while 32.5 per cent were performed by health practitioners, and 4.4 per cent by traditional birth attendants. Oyo State also showed that 67 per cent was performed by traditional circumcisers, 11.9 per cent by healthcare practitioners, and 19.7 per cent by traditional birth attendants,” the report read in part.

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Source: news