Female excisions in Senegal: the consequences of this scourge


Dr Ndoye Mamadou, Coordinator of the program to combat FGM at the Ministry of Women, Family and Child Protection, indicated that “Senegal makes the fight against FGM a priority and this is reflected in all our actions. with a view to stopping this act which has caused too many innocent victims in our country.”

In its role of protecting the health of populations, WHO supports Senegal, as well as other countries at risk in the African Region, in this fight. The Organization supports the development of policies and strategies and produces evidence on the consequences of this scourge to encourage the commitment of countries to fight against FGM. It provides guidelines, advocacy tools and training manuals in order to inform health personnel about the practice and strengthen their capacities in its management.

“Any health professional in Senegal has a good chance of finding themselves confronted with a complication linked to FGM at least once in their career. This is why, it is important that in addition to information and communication activities, the training of health personnel for good care of victims is ensured,” declared Dr Jean Marie Vianny Yaméogo, resident representative of WHO in Senegal. “Adequate care for FGM is fundamental for the physical, psychological and social well-being of victims. » he adds.

Awa experienced excision at the age of 9 and that day has never left her. “They cut me with a knife, without anesthesia. With just a piece of cloth in my mouth to muffle my screams,” she remembers.

Now 25 years old and living in Kolda in southern Senegal, Awa has become an activist against excision and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in general. FGM is any procedure including the partial or total removal of a woman’s external genitalia or any other lesion of the female genitalia that is carried out for non-medical reasons.

In Senegal, nearly two million girls and women have undergone FGM according to the 2019 demographic health survey (EDS), the latest publication to date. These practices are mainly carried out on girls under 5 years old and rarely after 10 years old. Senegal is one of 26 countries affected by this use in the African Region.

Aware of the threat, the country is strengthening its measures. In 2022, the government adopted the first national strategy for the abandonment of FGM in Senegal for the period 2022-2030, in addition to the penal code which, since 1999, has punished FGM.

The management of FGM is also a concern for Senegalese civil society. This is the case of the Adolescent Advisory Center (CCA), a service for the promotion and management of issues related to reproductive health, gender-based violence (GBV) and female genital mutilation among adolescents, set up placed by the Senegalese state in Kolda during the year 2000.

The center attaches particular importance to psychological support for victims or people who have after-effects linked to excision. During 2023, 96 cases were received at the CCA, ranging from cases of minor pregnancies, gender-based violence, and after-effects linked to female genital mutilation to cases of rape and abuse. 80% of cases were handled by the courts and the remaining 20% ​​were followed by a consulting psychologist.

“Female genital mutilation has significant consequences on the physical and psychological health of victims throughout their lives. Some victims die following hemorrhage, infection or even psychological distress,” explains Babacar Sy, the coordinator of the Adolescent Counseling Center (CCA) in Kolda.

Awa, the young activist, is one of the main leaders of the young girls’ club set up by the CCA. “One of my greatest prides is being able to change the mind of my grandmother, the one who circumcised my sister and me. Today she officially declared her abandonment of female genital mutilation,” she confides.

Through activities and campaigns on the issues of female genital mutilation, the CCA has brought more than 3,000 young girls to commit not to perpetuate FGM.

All those involved in the fight against female genital mutilation are making numerous efforts to put an end to this practice in the country. However, vigilance remains necessary because current trends warn that the country may not achieve the sustainable development goal relating to the eradication of FGM by 2030.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button