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Efforts have intensified to eliminate female genital mutilation. A New UNICEF report estimates that at least 200 million women alive today have undergone FGM. However, medical experts have strengthened their efforts to convince communities that there are other ways as well to mark a girl’s maturity without making her to undergo this cruel practice.
On February 7, International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation was observed. On the day, Ban Ki-moon, chief of the United Nations, has asked to have a better way than this one. As per the UN, the practice is violent and a violation of the rights of girls and women. But the practice is being followed by many communities.
Lately, two American gynecologists have proposed a solution that would accommodate cultural beliefs while protecting the physical health of girls. Dr. Githinji Gitahi, a physician with a specialty in OB¬-GYN said that it is important to understand that FGM has no medical benefits.
“FGM is a harmful practice which results in numerous medical complications including severe bleedings, infection, blockage of the urinary tract with renal complications and even death and later in life may result in inability to deliver normally”, affirmed Githai, who mentioned that there are communities who have been doing away with all cutting.
The new traditions are being adopted in Maasai and Samburu communities in Kenya and Tanzania. Preparatory sessions are organized for two to three days and a celebration takes place with singing and dancing and blessings are given by village elders.
They even pour a mixture of milk and honey and water over the heads of the girls. Goats and cows are slaughtered to prepare delicacies. Traditional beer is enjoyed by men. Young women wear bright multicolored clothes and adorn decorative beads.
Peter N. Nguura, project manager, Unite for Body Rights Project, AMREF Kenya Country Office, said that 200 to more than 1,000 girls have taken part in such ceremonies. In the ceremony, elders announce ban on FGM.