Over 3m girls at risk of genital mutilation annually – WHO

…launches FGM economic cost calculator

By Hassan Zaggi

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that over three million girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) annually.

It has, however, warned that unless accelerated actions are taken by member countries, the number may raise to 4.6 million yearly by 2030.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this in a statement to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM.

She, however, revealed that in an effort to support the call for increased investment in FGM, WHO has launched an interactive FGM economic cost calculator.

“The tool visualizes the health and economic costs of FGM and the potential cost savings in implementing interventions to prevent it. “The calculator is relevant to decision-makers, donors and communities, who can use its results to inform actions towards eliminating FGM,” the WHO Regional Director for Africa, explained.

Dr Moeti, therefore, appealed to decision-makers, policy-makers, programme planners, and donors to use the new WHO calculator to inform decisions and invest more to eliminate FGM within a generation.

She, however, lamented that FGM is expected to have been performed on more than 200 million girls and women who are still alive.

According to her, “in the African Region, FGM occurs in 30 countries. We have seen progress – for instance, in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Liberia and Togo, FGM has decreased among girls aged 15 to 19 years over the past 30 years.

“However, collectively we need to do more to protect girls, women and communities from the harms associated with FGM.”

Explaining how WHO is working with member states to eliminate FGM, Dr, Moeti said: “We are working with Member States and partners to eliminate FGM by developing guidelines, tools, training, and policies for health workers to provide the highest quality health care, including counselling girls and women living with FGM, while also taking actions to prevent the practice; generating knowledge about the causes and consequences of the practice and about how to prevent it; and developing publications and advocacy tools efforts to end FGM.”

The theme the 2020 celebration is: “Unleashing Youth Power: One Decade of Accelerating Actions for Zero Female Genital Mutilation by 2030.”

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