6 February 2013

Uganda: Government Intensifies FGM Drive

The Government is intensifying efforts to curb female genital mutilation (FGM), which has continued to be widespread despite the enactment of a law against the practice in 2010.

The assurance was made by gender state minister Rukia Nakadama at the Media Centre on ahead of the international zero tolerance to FGM commemoration today.

The commemoration will take place in Nakiloro, Katikekile sub-county, Moroto district.

Nakadama said the Government will, starting this week, move around sensitising the Sabiny, Pokot, Kadam, and Tepeth in eastern and northeastern Uganda about the dangers of the practice.

These are communities where FGM is most common.

She said they will hold radio talk shows, community dialogues and share success stories in the fight against the vice.

"If we can reach all these communities and show to them how harmful and cruel the practice is to the girl child, we can create some change," said Nakadama.

She said FGM does not only subject girls and women to excruciating pain - often at the hands of the cutters in non-sterile conditions - but also poses serious long-term sexual and reproductive health consequences for the victims.

"The practice causes bleeding, infections, trauma, complications during child birth and increased risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS," Nakadama said.

She said the Government was also liaising with Kenya to stump out the practice as many of the affected communities lie on the Uganda-Kenya border and can cross over when 'hunted'.

"The problem is that FGM is a cultural issue and many people in these communities believe it is a rite of passage into womanhood. But we can't accept this culture. It's wrong," said the minister.

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