The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has raised alarm over what it called “the rising cases of female genital mutilation and cutting, FGMC, in Imo State”.
The UNICEF Consultant for Imo and Ebonyi States, Mr. Benjamin Mbakwem, raised the alarm during a two-day training programme organized in Owerri, by the National Orientation Agency, NOA, in collaboration with UNICEF, for Community Champions, drawn from some communities in Owerri Municipal, Owerri West, Ehime Mbano, Ideato North and geared towards eliminating FGMC. He lamented that “68 percent of Imo women are affected by this sordid and outlawed practice”.
According to Mbakwem, the practice still persists, even among educated parents, despite the subsisting law against FGMC.
“Available research shows that seven out of every 10 women in Imo State, live with the effects of FGMC. This accounts for the major reason why many pregnant women undergo prolonged labour and find it extremely difficult to give birth through the normal way”, Mbakwem said.
He assured that UNICEF was working assiduously to ensure total elimination of FGMC practice by 2030, when the sustainable development goals must have been achieved. “FGMC not only violates the sexual/reproductive health/right of a woman/girl, but also endangers their sexual/reproductive health”, Mbakwem said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State NOA Director, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, described FGMC practice as “very harmful and has several health health and psychological effects on women”.
He said that because the practice is prevalent in Imo, UNICEF and UNFPA are collaborating with the Federal Government and other agencies to fight the malaise.
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