Health

UNFPA supports FG to develop new Policy on Elimination of FGM

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The Joint Programme of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has supported the Federal Ministry of Health to develop new policy on Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) (2019-2024).

Ms Debora Tabara, FGM Consultant, UNFPA Nigeria, made this known on Thursday in Abuja during a review meeting on the new National Policy and Plan of Action for the Elimination FGM in Nigeria.

Tabara said the new policy would address the gaps which previous National Policy on Elimination of FGM (2013-2017) failed to address.

She added that the new policy was structured to provide better programming toward abandoning FGM in Nigeria.

Tabara explained that the previous national policy on FGM was the national document that guided the enactment of UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Programme for the acceleration of abandonment of FGM in Nigeria.

She added that the new policy would also validate the interventions that would come toward accelerating the abandonment of FGM and other related harmful practices.

Also, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, the Director, Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, said the meeting was to ensure that key players make input into the new national policy.

Adebiyi said the meeting was also aimed at ensuring that the new policy addresses the gaps created by previous policy on FGM and also ensure that Nigeria set the pace in ending FGM in Africa.

“We are trying to ensure that all bottlenecks are removed; synergize with relevant stakeholders and ensure that our policies and strategies in ending FGM left no one behind,’’ she said.

The director said the practice of FGM was totally unacceptable and, therefore, renewed commitments of government and partners to end the challenge in all its various dimensions.

In this regard, the director noted that many countries, including Nigeria, have ratified international conventions and declarations that make provision for the protection of the rights of women and girls.

In her remarks, Dr Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, a consultant with UNFPA Nigeria, presented the draft National Policy and Action Plan on FGM 2019-2024.

Onyemelukwe said the policy was put in place to provide a comprehensive framework so that there would a targeted action for each key player, including the communities where FGM was being practiced.

She added that new policy would, among others, focus on tackling social norms and medicalisation of FGM, where nurses, doctors and other health professionals perform FGM.

The consultant said FGM had several social and health consequences such as maternal mortality; adding that most women who did it have post-partum hemorrhage, being one of the highest cause of maternal mortality.

Also, Mrs Christiana Oliko, Head Child Development Department, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, said that the ministry was committed at ending Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.

Oliko implored the participants to critically look at the emerging issues that posed great hindrance in the fight to end female genital mutilation to come out with best policy document that would fast-track ending FGM.

Similarly, Dr Solomon Avidime, representing the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), said that FGM was a topic being discussed everyday by the NMA due to its health and social implications.

Avidime, a Gynecologist with the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, (ABUTH) Zaria, said the association would continue to give its best until the final policy document was adopted and implemented.

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