WHO Releases New Guidelines to Tackle Female Genital Mutilation


More than 200 million girls and women have been victim to female genital mutilation (FGM). (Photo: iStockphoto)
More than 200 million girls and women have been victim to female genital mutilation (FGM). (Photo: iStockphoto)

WHO Releases New Guidelines to Tackle Female Genital Mutilation

More than 200 million girls and women have been a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) all over the world. World Health Organisation (WHO) proposes recommendations for health workers to work for the betterment of the victims.

FGM, which includes partial or complete removal of external genitalia or any other injury afflicted to it for non-medical reasons, is not only a major health threat but also a violation of human rights.

The practice exists in several African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

Right Information and Measures Regarding FGM

According to WHO, many health workers are unaware of the right measures to adopt with a victim of FGM.

Health workers have a crucial role in helping address this global health issue. They must know how to recognise and tackle health complications of FGM. Access to the right information and good training can help prevent new cases and ensure that the millions of women who have undergone FGM get the help they need.
Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director General

Significant efforts against FGM began in 1997. A decade later, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) began the Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting to increase awareness about the practice.

Now the new WHO guidelines further emphasise these efforts to draw attention to the practice. Especial attention is drawn towards issuing a warning against the “medicalisation” of FGM.

Right Training to Health Providers

In collaboration with the UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, the WHO published a “Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation” in 2010.

WHO suggests the creation of protocols, manuals and guidelines, for health providers to prevent medicalisation of FGM. When faced with requests by parents and family members to perform FGM or re-infibulation following childbirth, health providers must be aware of the adverse health consequences. Additionally, there should be a standard mode of action in place to be adopted in these situations.

The guidelines also draw attention to a more informed and efficient management of FGM victims. The health community should be better prepared to deal with the complications arising out of it, allowing them to work towards both its elimination and prevention.

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