Bawku — The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Bawku in the Upper East Region, Ms Hawa Nachema, has issued a strong warning to perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in communities in the area to desist from the negative practice or risked being prosecuted.
The MCE issued the warning during a sensitization forumon FGM organized by the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) at the Mognori community in the Bawku Municipalas part of this year's International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM set aside by the United Nations.
The forum sponsored by the Domestic Violence Secretariat under the MoGCSP attracted about 300 participants including traditional and religious leaders, women groups, the youth, Assembly Members, opinion leaders among others.
The Bawku Municipalility, which is closer to the neighbouring countries, including Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali and Niger, is noted for the phenomenon where many of the perpetrators of the FGM often smuggle young girls across the border towns to perform such heinous acts. Others also perform the act in the hideouts in the communities particularly in the remote parts of the Municipality.
The MCE who stated that the disadvantages of the FGM were so much that it needed to be stop, mentioned that apart from the excessive bleeding and the spread of infections, those who experienced it could attest to the fact that during delivery , they often feel so much pains and tearing of the parts of the virgina.
Whilst calling on adolescent girls to report their parents who wish them to undergo such barbaric act to the appropriate headquarters for the necessary sanctions to be prescribed against them, the MCE commended the organizers and the sponsors for holding the programme.
The Bolgatanga Municipal Health Promotion Officer, Eric Anabiga, observed that FGM was one of the major threats to maternal health and infant mortality in the country and stressed that FGM which is often traditionally performed upon young girls using crude methods such as knives and blades often exposed the victims to health hazards and psychological trauma.
"It causes severe bleeding, problems in urinating which can develop into cysts, infections, complications in children and increased risks of fistula during child birth," he stressed.
The Bolgatanga Municipal CHRAJ Director, Eric Aburinya, who explained that FGM was recognized internationally as a human rights violation of girls and women, added that It was a violation against the right to health, physical integrity, the right to be freed from torture and cruelty, inhuman treatment and the right to live where it results in death.
He told the gathering that Ghana abolished FGM in 2011 and warned that the law would not hesitate to deal with anybody caught in performing or condoning in the act
The Acting Regional Director of Department of Gender, James Twen , explained that the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM is an annual awareness day celebrated globally every year as part of the UN's efforts to eradicate FGM.
"Female Genital Mutilation is one of the ancient cultures which have been practiced in Africa and Asia for decades. History has it that the practice of FGM came from neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo into Ghana," the Acting Regional Director of Department of Gender explained.
He stated that although the many sensitization programmes organized by his outfit and other development partners had led to the reduction of FGM in many communities in Ghana, the phenomenon was stillbeing practicedin some parts of the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and the Volta Regions, including the Zongo Communities in certain urban centres of the country.
He appealed to the media, faith based organizations, traditional rulers, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Civil Society and Community based organizations to implement concrete actions to help fight the canker.
The Upper East Regional Director of Children, Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, stated that a research conducted by BelimWusa Development Agency (BEWDA) and Action Aid Ghana both NGOs revealed that FMG was still more prevalent in Districts sharing boarders with neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali and Niger.
She explained that it was against this background that a lot of sensitizations programmes aimed at ending the phenomenon were being organized in the Districts in the Bawku zone and Paga which shared boarders with Burkina Faso and Togo respectively.