NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is
emerging as a major threat to ending the vice in Kenya,
campaigners said on Tuesday during an event to mark the
International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
an expert on ending harmful practices at Equality Now said
that medics and paramedics are effecting the cut as families
of the victimized girls and women turn to hospitals in pretext
of providing safer services than traditional practitioners.
“But the mental
and physical effects (of the cut) are the same whether it is
done in hospital or at home,” Gitonga told Xinhua.
Kenya is among the
five countries in Africa with the highest rates of FGM
performed by medical professionals, a 2017 research by Kenya’s
Population Council together with partners indicates.
Sudan leads with
67 percent followed by Egypt at 38 percent and Kenya and
Guinea come third with 15 percent each. Nigeria trails with 13
percent in terms of the cut done by doctor, nurse, midwife or
other health care workers.
Worryingly too is
the shifting of target to infant girls as service providers
strive to escape from the consequences of the law
notwithstanding the dangers they expose them to, she said.
identified politicization of anti-FGM campaigns, subverted FGM
undertakings, vacation cutting and loopholes in implementation
of laws prohibiting the cut as existing challenges to ending
the vice in Kenya.
resistance from political leaders towards ending the vice
hampers progressive change in cultural practices in some
communities thereby encouraging continuation of FGM.
In other areas
cutting the girls is done simultaneously with circumcision of
boys making the exercise appear legal thereby diverting the
attention of law enforcers from the criminal act committed in
the background, she said.
of anti-FGM laws, Gitonga said the laws enforcers including
the police and local administration have to be trained on the
existing laws to be able to effectively apply them in
preventing the vice and prosecuting the culprits.
She was emphatic
of the urgency of sensitizing the medical professionals of
their role in ending FGM. She said there was need for them to
establish punitive mechanisms to restrain the health providers
from taking part in the vice.
“They have to take
a stand and develop measures that would ensure that those who
take part in it are held accountable,” she said.
Alfred Ng’eno, an
anti-FGM campaigner said reviewing anti-FGM laws to introduce
stricter punishments would help reduce rates of the vice in
“You will find a
culprit arrested and a few days later, he is out having been
granted cash bail of some little money and they continue with
their normal activities of subjecting more and more girls and
women to the cut,” Ng’eno said.
He said it was
necessary to decentralize the anti-FGM campaigns to the
grassroots in order to have a direct rather than an
intermediary impact on the communities.
“We should have
all-inclusive anti-FGM boards in the villages because that is
where the culprits and victims or potential victims are,” he
“It is important
to relentlessly educate communities on long and short-term
effects of FGM since some continue to do it out of ignorance,”