A survey, funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in Oyo, Osun, and Ekiti States, has shown that in spite of the gains that have been made in the reduction of the practice, its prevalence in the three states is still significant.
The report of the survey, which was carried out under ‘The StopCut Project’, of the HACEY Health Initiative, a development organization focused on improving the health and productivity of vulnerable and underserved populations in Africa, noted that the result has indicated the need for intensified efforts towards the abandonment of the practice.
The StopCut Project Lead, Miss Oluwatomi Olunuga, presented the report to journalists on Thursday at Ibadan Business School, to commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th), which also featured the launch of various publications and a video documentary on FGM.
The event brought together high-level representatives from United Nations agencies, the European Union, government ministries, non-governmental organizations, media houses, and other key stakeholders to engage participants towards amplifying the End FGM messages, advocacy, and campaign activities carried out by stakeholders as well as increase awareness on the prevalence of FGM.
According to the report, “the prevalence of this practice reflects the number of people who were circumcised at the time of this raid. It also reflects the extent of FGN and calls for interventions to be implemented to reduce the practice’s continuation. Our study revealed that over 50 percent of women of child-bearing age in the three project states – Osun (76.8 percent), Oyo (51.8 percent), and Ekiti (52.6 percent), have been mutilated.
“The findings from Oyo and Ekiti States reveal a 3.3 percent and 10 percent reduction in the prevalence of the practice, compared to the 2016-2017MICS study. However, there was a nine percent increase in the prevalence of FGM in Osun State in comparison. While gains have been made in the reduction of the practice of FGM, the prevalence in the three states remains significant, indicating the need for intensified efforts towards the abandonment of this practice.”
The StopCut Project also delved into the prevalence of FGM among girls that are below 14 years, saying more than a third of women in the study areas had a mutilated child, which represents an increase of more than 10 percent in recent FGM practice “when compared to the 2016-2017MICS study.”
The study revealed that 37.7 percent of girls of age zero to 14 years in Osun, 43.4 percent in Ekiti, 31 percent in Oyo have been mutilated. It further showed that the majority of the girls less than 15 years were circumcised between zero and five months of age, Ekiti has 86.1 percent, Osun has 82.2 percent, and Oyo has 93.9 percent. But for those circumcised between six months and five years, Osun has 17.8 percent, Ekiti has 13.9 percent, and Oyo has 6.1 percent.
The study also sought to know the perpetrators of the FGM and the findings revealed that traditional circumcisers known as ‘Oloola’ in Yorubaland, healthcare practitioners, and traditional birth attendants have been responsible for the practice to date.
“The study asked women with mutilated female children who performed the procedure; findings corroborated recent trends with the major perpetrators of FGM in the study, being traditional circumcisers, followed by healthcare practitioners. In Ekiti State, 31.5 percent of the recent practice was conducted by health practitioners, while 37.6 percent was performed by traditional circumcisers, and 23 percent by traditional birth attendants.
“Also, in Osun State, 60.6 percent of recent cutting was performed by traditional circumcisers, while 32.5 percent were performed by health practitioners and 4.4 percent by traditional birth attendants. Oyo State also showed that 67 percent was performed by traditional circumcisers, 11.9 percent by healthcare practitioners, and 19.7 percent by traditional birth attendants,” the report read in part.