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Medics’ licences to be revoked for performing outlawed FGM

By Joy Wanja Muraya
Updated Sat, January 16th 2016 at 13:11 GMT +3
Nicholas Muraguri

One in every five Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) operations in the last five years was performed by a medical professional.

And Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri has said it is unethical for health professionals to engage in the illegal practice.

“You will be charged and licenses withdrawn,” warned Dr Muraguri.

The Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Board chairperson Linah Kilimo also reproached the medics abetting the illegal practice and warned of stern action.

The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014 (KDHS) which was released on Thursday found out that in communities that practise FGM, it was done by traditional circumcisers, traditional birth attendants and medical professionals.

In about 75 per cent of the cases, the cut was done by traditional circumcisers, the report said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously warned member states to be on the look out as involvement of medics in FGM increases.

According to the survey, one of every two Muslim women is likely to have been circumcised compared to their counterparts in other religious groups.

According to the report released on Thursday, disparities were also found in ethnic groups with the majority of women, Somali (94 per cent), Samburu (86 per cent), Kisii (84 per cent), and Maasai (78 per cent) being circumcised.

The Luo, Luhya, Turkana, and Mijikenda/Swahili recorded the lowest prevalence of FGM at less than two per cent while women (36 per cent) and men (37 per cent) with no education were more likely to report that circumcision is required by their religion than women and men with any education.

Some of the reasons that promote FGM include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities.

The research also revealed that about 11 per cent of women and men believe the practice is required by their community or religion or that it should continue.

The study also showed a trend where girls are circumcised at a younger age. Forty six per cent of victims aged 15-19 were circumcised between five and nine years, compared to 17 per cent of women who underwent the cut aged 45 to 49.

Sensitisation campaigns

According to the findings, two per cent of circumcised women aged between 15 to 49 had no flesh removed, 87 per cent had the flesh removed, and another nine per cent had their genital area sewn and closed, a procedure known as infibulation.

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