Africa Coordinating Centre for Abandonment of FGM (ACCAF) Director Prof. Guyo Jaldesa delivers his address during the conference.
Kenya has been ranked number three worldwide amongst top perpetrators of medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) behind Egypt and Sudan.
Africa Coordinating Centre for Abandonment of FGM (ACCAF) Director Prof. Guyo Jaldesa defined medicalization as genital mutilation done on a female by any category of health care provider whether in a health facility or in a home.
Speaking at the National Conference on FGM organized by the Anti-FGM board Prof. Guyo said that unlike male circumcision that had evidence-backed benefits, FGM had no preventative or curative benefits that justified it whether done by a traditionalist or a healthcare provider.
He said that the trend had increased over the past years due to the misguided belief that the victim would escape the health risks of FGM but noted that mortality rates of medicalization cases in Egypt matched those of cases done by traditionalists.
Dr. Linah Jebii Kilimo, former Anti FGM board chairperson and Anti FGM crusader said that medicalization of FGM violated the rights of the victim. She added that did not serve any purpose beyond interfering with organs that were designed specifically for the purpose of reproduction and intercourse.
“There is no difference between the traditionalist’s cut and the doctor’s cut because over 6000 blood vessels and nerves serve the affected area and we have seen women dying from FGM done by doctors,” said Jebii.
She said this in reaction to a court petition by a Dr. Tatu Kamau who is asking that the Anti-FGM board be disbanded and that FGM is medicalized for all women who wish to have the procedure done. The case will be heard on the 26th of February 2018.
Alternate Principal Secretary Ministry of Health Dr. Sheikh Mohammed condemned the practice of FGM and its medicalization saying that it violates the ‘Do No Harm’ principle and is a violation of women’s rights to the highest standard of health care.
Mohammed said that county governments were in the process of formulating guidelines on the registration of health practitioners and would investigate their involvement in FGM practices before registering them.
He however admitted challenges that the ministry is facing in efforts to curb medicalization and the practice in general, among them that very few cases are reported and that there is lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute perpetrators.