A non governmental organization, Hacey health initiative has admonished the people of Oyo state not engage in female genital mutilation (FGM) in order to rescue female children from genital pain.
The admonition from Hacey Initiative with the support of Access Bank, was aimed at projecting universal health coverage, in conjunction with the state government to empower and sensitize the public on the effect and the pain associated with female genital mutilation (FGM), was held in Atiba Local Government Area, Oyo town.
While addressing newsmen yesterday, state coordinator, Hacey Health Initiative, Mr. Owolabi Abayomi, explained the reason of organising the programme was to save the lives and the future of many innocent girls.
The coordinator, while explaining that Oyo State is one of the states with highest prevalent rate of FGM, further said that the sensitisation became necessary in order to enlighten members of the public on the negative effects of FGM.
He said: “Female genital mutilation has no known benefit. It has immediate and age-long term consequences.”
“It is an extremely harmful practice. The damage caused is irreversible. The society thought that FGM is a way to protect women against being promiscuous, but we discovered that it does not.”
“We do not know when it started. It does not discourage women from being promiscuous. It has no benefit. So, the media should help us spread the message to the people at the grassroots.”
“We appeal to the religious leaders, traditional rulers, men and women tell their families to stop this act.”
He advised the public to alert the security agency whenever anyone is being caught in the dastardly act.
In his remark, the health educator, Atiba Local Government, Florence Abosede noted that through the sensitisation the organization has been able to change the attitude and the mentality of the mothers and care-givers on the bad effect of female genital mutilation to the society.
She advocated stringent measures against perpetrators of female genital mutilation.
She said: “A top-down approach may not be sufficient in eliminating FGM/C as seen from the low awareness of the available polices and laws reported by the respondents of this research.”
“Policies and laws are insufficient if there is no awareness created on the dangers and complications that arise from FGM/C.”
“Considering this, a bottom-up approach should be prioritised to minimise the prevalence and eliminate the practice in the long run.”
“While a bottom-up approach is encouraged, the top-down approach should also not be neglected. Such an approach may come in the form of social mobilisation and campaigns to create awareness about the dangers of the practice and about the laws,” she said.
At the sensitisation event, more than 120 women and young girls who have been victims of the barbaric act participated where some of them shared their experiences.