By David Odongo
Women who fell victim to bush knives in the name of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) can now exhale as a pioneer clitoris restoration surgery clinic has opened its doors in Africa.
The only problem is that Kenyans wishing to access the rare corrective service may have to fly across the continent.
Clitoraid, the special surgery in Bobo Dilassou, Burkina Faso, is a first that will attract many whose ‘pleasure pins’ were brutally nipped to satisfy retrogressive cultural practices. The clitoral repair hospital will open on March 7, and Chantal Compaore, First Lady of Burkina Faso, will preside the ceremony.
Dr Marci Bowers, MD, and Dr Harold Henning Jr, MD, volunteer surgeons from the United States, will perform surgeries at the new hospital and also train other surgeons to do it.
Kenya is renowned for successful complicated surgeries, but not this service in a country where the Kuria, Masai and Kisii communities practice FGM.
After the surgery
But in an exclusive interview with The Nairobian, Clitoraid Communications Director Nadine Gary said “There are many patients who have contacted us from Kenya, indeed. One Kenyan patient is coming to our ‘Pleasure Hospital’ for her surgery in March. Also, a Kenyan doctor, who we will name at a later date is planning on coming to be trained during our hospital inauguration. All of our patients have reported improvements after the surgery, and about 60 percent of them have experienced orgasm – something they thought would never happen for them,” said Gary.
Gary said hundreds of women are already on Clitoraid’s waiting list to have the surgery, which will be free for any woman who wants it.
She says Clitoraid picked Burkina Faso because it is a relative stable country politically and they have the support of the government with the First Lady, Chantal Compaore and the local community as well with local African chiefs having donated the land upon which the $400,000 (Sh34 million) hospital is built.
“Their wait is almost over,” Gary said. She said the new facility, called “the Kamkaso,” which means “the house for women,” has been nicknamed “the Pleasure Hospital,” since the surgery “will restore their dignity as women as well as their ability to experience physical pleasure, which was taken from them against their will.”
Arguing that men would feel the same as FGM victims if the top portions of their male organs were chopped off, Gary says many such women despise and feel ashamed of their bodies.
“FGM victims have been looking for a way to remedy their condition for years. Their husbands reject them; they are fed up with all the consequences including pain during intercourse or no pleasurable feeling at best. They want to be normal women at last.
“Of course it heals their trauma! The minute they look at their genitals in the mirror hours after the surgery and discover their clitoris, it is a complete transformation, an indescribable joy in the head that will be taken to another level when the first orgasm is felt a few months later,” he said.
FGM was outlawed in Kenya in 2001.
Despite this, a public health survey in 2009 found that 27 per cent of women had been subject to FGM. The figure is much higher among some ethnic groups such as the Somalis (98 per cent) and Maasai (73 per cent).
A second set of laws passed in 2011 made it illegal to promote or to facilitate female circumcision, with stiffer penalties while a commission has been set up to deal with FGM matters.
With billions in county treasuries and governors dying to out compete each other with ambulances and chicken taxes, Kenyans should wait with bated breath to see who will be the first governor to demonstrate that he truly loves women by announcing that such corrective surgeries are available in his county.