Today, on February sixth, the World Health Organization celebrates the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The day was introduced initially in the year 2003 and is a part of the ongoing plan of eradicating Female Genital Mutilation from different parts of the world by the United Nations.
The term Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all the processes performed on the female genitalia which can possibly injure or change it without any medical reasons. It is considered a violation of the basic human rights of women and girls.
The effects of the majority of the forms of female genital mutilation can have both temporary and permanent effects. The procedure can be severely damaging and cause difficulty in urinating, raise the risk of infections, severe pain, and excessive bleeding.
In addition, the women who have undergone any sort of genital mutilation may face permanent consequences on their reproductive, mental, and sexual health. Often, the impact of FGM is deemed as irreversible and lasts lifelong.
According to the statistics present on female genital mutilation, the practice is most prevalent in thirty countries situated in either the Middle East or different parts of Africa.
However, the problem of FGM is not confined to specific areas and can be seen throughout the world. In addition to Africa and the Middle East, female genital mutilation is also practiced in countries in Asia as well as Latin America.
Research on the prevailing issues also shows that the practice is also continued even in immigrant families. Therefore, immigrants residing in countries including North America, New Zealand, Western Europe, and Australia follow the tradition of FGM as well.
The joint mission of the United Nations and the World Health Organization recognizes the need for multiple efforts and initiatives to raise awareness against female genital mutilation and ultimately cut down its rates across the aforementioned regions.
Initiatives promulgated by the programs for awareness regarding female genital mutilation include community education on sexual health, human rights, women’s rights, and gender equality to highlight the consequences of the inhumane practice on the health of the affected women.
Such programs by the WHO and the UN are planned every year to help reach the goal of completely eradicating female genital mutilation by the year 2030.
Currently, the main focus is on seventeen different countries present in areas with the highest rate of the practice which are the Middle East and Africa. The program supports additional regional initiatives as well as other global programs to help the overall fight against FGM.
Since its inception, the different programs have been successful in helping over three million victims of female genital mutilation with healthcare services.
Secondly, around thirteen countries have also banned female genital mutilation under the programs and have established specific funding programs for putting a further end to the practice.
Such efforts at the regional level of the countries and at a global level can hopefully cut down the rates of female genital mutilation and put an end to the mindset that supports it.