Nigeria has introduced a course on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the medical curriculum in the teaching of doctors and nurses by the respective medical and nursing councils, in an attempt to deal with the harmful practice that is still widespread although illegal.

Professor Modupe Onadeko, the national president of the inter-Africa Committee on Harmful/Violent Practices Against Women and Children, made the pronouncement and also said doctors and nurses who engage in the practice will be prosecuted, the heraldng reported.

Nigeria is amongst the countries with a high FGM prevalence rate. A new report recently released by Unicef indicates that at least 200 million women and girls have undergone genital mutilation in 30 countries and “more than half live in just three countries: Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia”.

800 Tanzanian schoolgirls returned after hiding for three months to avoid  genital mutilation. Photo: UNICEF

FGM is a major problem in many countries. Photo: UNICEF

In Nigeria, 25 percent of women and girls who have undergone FGM between 2004 and 2015 are aged 15 to 49 years. According to statistics from Unicef, 17 percent of girls aged 0 to 14 years in Nigeria have undergone FGM between 2010 and 2015.

Although former president, Goodluck Jonathan signed the law banning FGM last year, activists continue to call for a systemic cultural shift to deal with the problem. The latest announcement is undoubtedly a welcome development to help eliminate the practice.

Last year, three Tanzanian universities announced a decision to offer a course on FGM to train health care professionals on how to deal with victims of the harmful practice.

The course is taught at the University of Dodoma, Muhimbili University of Heath and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), making Tanzania only the second country in Africa to offer such training after Ghana.

Source: The Herald Nigeria