The outright removal of the outer flesh from a female’s vagina (clitoris), popularly known as female circumcision or female genital mutilation is no longer new in many communities in Nigeria. A total violation of the female’s body, this act of genital mutilation has been condemned in various spheres, yet, its continuous patronage has become a cause for concern. It does not only strip its victims of certain feminine feelings, it constitutes a serious health risk to them especially at childbirth and as harbinger of diseases.
For more information about this health challenging phenomenon, The Tide’s Women Desk undertook a study on its practice and possible effect on victims.
Why is Female Genital Mutilation performed?
Female genital mutilation is assumed to be performed to control so called women sexuality. It is thought to ensure virginity till marriage and fidelity afterwards. It is also seen as a part of a girl’s initiation into womanhood. In some communities around the world, the female outer flesh in the vagina (clitoris) is considered dirty and ugly. That is why it is being removed. According perpetrators, it promotes hygiene in woman’s body.
Where does this practice come from?
The origin of this practice is truly unclear to anyone, but it is said that some Egyptian women carried out Female Genital Mutilation on their daughters and it went well for them. Historians such as Herodotus claimed that in the fifth century BC, the Phoenicians, the Hittites and the Ethiopians practiced circumcision. Circumcision rites were also practiced in the tropical part of Africa. It is also practiced in this our country, Nigeria till this present day.
At what age is the Female Genital Mutilation carried out?
It varies from place to place. Female Genital Mutilation is mostly carried out during infancy, just few days after birth, while in some places it happens during childhood, within the age of 8 or sometimes at the teen age.
Who performs Female Genital Mutilation?
It is the elderly women in the community that carry out the act or by a medical practitioner in the village. There are over 200 million girls alive today that are believed to have been subjected to FGM. It is a reflection of global population growth. Girls that have undergone FGM are everywhere in the world, mostly in Africa.
What instrument are used to perform Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation is carried out with special knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. Anesthetic and antiseptic are generally not used unless the procedure is carried out by medical practitioners. In communities where circumcision is practiced, the girls leg are often bound together to immobilize them for 10-14 days, allowing the formation of scar tissue. No Religion supports Female Genital Mutilation because it is not good.
What is the psychological effect of the Female Genital Mutilation?
The initial procedure can result in severe shock, pain, bleeding, tetanus or sepsis, bacterial infections, inability to urinate, open sores in genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue and the girls are at risk of abnormal menstrual flow, recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, pain during sex, lack of sexual pleasure and infertility. Victims also suffer psychological problems following the very often traumatic procedure.
How about the health effects
Female Genital Mutilation has a very serious health implication. The immediate complications are severe pain, shock, hemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of genital region and injury to adjacent tissue. Urinary infection, fever and septicemia hemorrhage and infection can be severe enough to cause death.
Long-term consequences; complications during childbirth, anemia, the formation, of cysts and abscesses, keliod scar formation, damage to the urethra resulting in urinary influence, dsypareunia, (painful sexual intercourse), sexual dysfunction, hypersensitive of the genital area and increased risk of HIV transmission, as well as psychological effects.
What do the girls who have experienced Female Genital Mutilation have to say about it?
Women around the world are speaking out about their experiences and advocating for change. None of them that has passed through it recommends it to any other girl. They all kick against this evil act.
Nkechi shared her story. She said she and her two sisters and their mother were preparing to visit her family back home. She said, she thought they were going for holiday, only to discover later that they were going to be circumcised. Her mother told them, that a day before that day the girl that was circumcised died in the process. She and her sisters were scared and didn’t want to suffer the same fate but their parents told them that is their obligation so they went. She and her sisters thought they were going to die because of the pain. You have one woman holding your mouth so you won’t scream, two women holding your legs. After they were circumcised, they had to learn to walk again. They had to try to go to the toilet, if you couldn’t pass water in the next 10 days that means something went wrong. This act is been carried out in so many places here in Nigeria. Places like Imo, Rivers, Plateau states and several other places still practice female genital mutilation.
What does the law have to say about the FGM
The Law says that anyone or group of people caught carrying out this act, should be arrested with immediate effect, it is barbaric, it is punishable by law. Whoever that is caught will face 14 years imprisonment.
Azodoh writes from Port Harcourt.
World Bank Trains 54,000 Women, Youths On Economy
The Kebbi State Government has disclosed that over 54,000 women and youths have been trained by the World Bank to be economically active.
The government also revealed its readiness to reciprocate its achievement recorded in rice production in other products such as onions, sheer-butter and soya beans for exportation purposes.
The Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who stated this while launching women and youth export development facility, in partnership with Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), said, the state has comparative advantage in agriculture over other states.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, Bagudu said, “As you know, Kebbi State is blessed with a population of women who are engaging in rice production and it is now a top talk across the nation due to efforts and support of state governor.
“The state government is trying to reciprocate the achievement recorded in the rice production into sheer butter, onions and soya beans.”
He added that with the partnership with NEXIM, Kebbi State would start the export of soya beans, shea butter and onions.
The Special Adviser to State Governor on Women Development, Hajia Zarau Wali, disclosed that through partnership with the World Bank, over 54,000 women have been trained to be economically active.
According to her, “It is also worthy of note, that the state government in partnership with the World Bank empowered 54,000 women to be economically active through the formation of Women Initiative Group in Maiyama, Ngaski and Argungu local government areas.”
She explained that more women and youths, especially in the rural areas, are actively involved in the production of rice, sheer butter, onions and water melon stressed that they are capable of feeding the nation and exporting the products if they were properly guided.
Wali urged NEXIM to include in their programmes mode of processing and packages of perishable products during their training session for women and youths.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Abba Bello, had commended the state government over it investment on rice production in the state which has increased the IGR of the state.
“Let me commend the investment drive in the state by your administration, particularly the Rice Revolution, which recently led to the unveiling of the rice pyramid as well as the cassava-based ethanol project with huge prospects for production of biofuel and renewable energy.
“Your efforts in this direction have not only contributed to the significant increase in the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) but have also positively impacted the socio-economic indices particularly in the areas of jobs creation and sustainable development”.
Eve Afrique Red Ball Takes Centre Stage In PH, Sunday
This year’s Eve Afrique Red Ball event with theme: “Together, Ensuring Peace and Development Across the Niger Delta”, is set to take place on Sunday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
In an interview, the Editor in Chief of Eve Afrique Magazine, Mrs Ivy Davis Etokakpan, said, this year’s Red Ball event is the 10th and will focus on the socio-economic wealth of the Niger Delta region.
She stated that, over the years, Eve Afrique had worked on eight health related issues, but this time, because of times and seasons, “we are focusing on peace and development across the Niger Delta.
According to her, “we hope to achieve this with the cooperation of leaders of corporate organisations in the Niger Delta. We believe that with the cause action on the Red Ball, we hope to do that with our Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Eve Afrique Empowerment Initiative”.
Etokakpan added that this year will focus basically on internship programme for young people by asking partners of the NGO to accept and train secondary school students during holidays in their companies.
She said, “in the past, we used to do vacation jobs in the oil companies, even in our parents’ companies. We hope that our partners would teach our children workable skills. If this is done, the Niger Delta child would know his or her skill and work on it.
“We want these young ones to learn management and accountancy skills through these internship programmes. Our dream is that, in five years’ time, we would have raised a group of’ equipped and empowered Niger Delta youths who in turn will mentor those coming after them. We need to prepare these ones for the future.
At the Red Ball event this weekend, we expect Elsphon Nigeria Alabo (Dr) Emi Membrane-Otaji, Managing Director, to present a keynote address on “Economic Development across the Niger Delta. Also, former MD of NDDC, Mr Timi Alaibe will present a paper on Peace Across the Niger Delta at the event”, she said.
It would be recalled that over the years, Eve Afrique Red Ball has achieved levels of successes over the previous Red Ball events in raising awareness on general health matters, empowerment programmes as a way of giving back to the state and society at large.
Eve Afrique had hosted programmes which include the sickle cell awareness programme, cervical cancer awareness and prevention programme, diabetic management awareness and prevention programme, prostate cancer awareness programme and colon cancer awareness programmes.
Eve Afrique had the mandate of changing the narrative concerning the Niger Delta.
They are on a mission to highlight and showcase the beauty of the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole, she added.
By: Ibinabo Ogolo
Women’s Health And Wellness
Women and men share many similar health problems, but women have their own health issues, which deserve special consideration.
Women’s lives have changed over the centuries. Historically, life was particularly difficult for most women. Aside from the numerous dangers and diseases, women became wives and mothers often when they were just emerging from their own childhood. Many women had a large number of pregnancies which may or may not have been wanted. In the past, childbirth itself was risky and frequently, led to the death of the mother. Most women in the past did not live long enough to be concerned about menopause or old age.
In 1900, a woman’s life span was about 50 years. Now, in the new millennium, average life expectancy for women is 82 years of age, and it is continuing to rise. Not only are women living longer, but they also can anticipate the possibility of enjoying a better quality of life throughout their span of years. In order to accomplish this, it is essential that women take charge of their own bodies and that they comprehend how they can maximise their personal health and fitness. It is also helpful that men understand and are supportive of the health concerns of the women.
Gynaecology is the primary branch of medical science concerned with women’s health issues. The word “gynaecology” is a word consisting of “gynaeco,” meaning “woman,” and “logic,” meaning “knowledge.” Taken together, it is “woman knowledge.
It is important that every woman has access to knowledge related to the spectrum of women’s health issues, not only about her reproductive system, but about all aspects of her body.
There is credible information available to women, not only on such problems as eating disorders, stress, alcoholism, addictions, and depression, but also on basic topics such as good nutrition, heart health, and exercise. For example, it is beneficial that a woman maintains her optimum weight. If a woman’s waist size measures more than 35 inches (89 cm), she is more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Eating sensible meals, eliminating after-dinner snacks, and making physical activity a part of daily life are significant ways to help control weight and lower the risk of a long list of health problems.
Smoking is detrimental to anyone’s health, as well as the health of those around them. Unfortunately, women continue to smoke despite the known health risks. Even though the number of female smokers is declining, still women continue to smoke.
Women are smoking in spite of the well-publicised risks including cancer, heart disease, and innumerable other health issues.
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol is also harmful to health. Although women typically begin drinking at a later age than men and tend to drink somewhat less, lower doses of alcohol are required for women to develop alcohol-related medical problems including alcohol toxicity, cirrhosis, and hepatitis.
Women should be aware that they metabolise a number of drugs differently than men. In some cases and for some medications, the rate of metabolism may be slower, and in other cases, faster. It is, therefore, essential that women are well informed about the kinds and correct dosages of any drugs they are taking.
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