Toyin Saraki 20 million Nigerian women have been circumcised - Wellbeing Foundation President

Mrs Saraki made the disclosure in commemoration of the United Nation’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6.

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Wellbeing Foundation Founder, Mrs Toyin Saraki visits Army's 9th Brigade Medical Center play

Wellbeing Foundation Founder, Mrs Toyin Saraki visits Army's 9th Brigade Medical Center

(Wellbeing Foundation)
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Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Toyin Saraki has revealed that about 20 million Nigerian women have experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Mrs Saraki made the disclosure in commemoration of the United Nation’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6.

She also expressed the belief that it is through midwives and maternal care that FGM can be overturned in Nigeria.

“As the founder and CEO of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, a maternal health charity based in Nigeria, I have seen with my own eyes the harm caused by this archaic practice,” Mrs Saraki wrote in an article published on Huffington Post.

“Women who have undergone the procedure commonly experience complications during birth, and are at a greater risk of caesarian section, hemorrhage, obstetric lacerations and prolonged labour.

“In low and middle income economic regions with poor coverage of quality maternal healthcare such as Nigeria, the heightened risk that FGM imposes on expectant mothers presents an added danger to childbirth.

“Last year I participated in a United National Population Fund conference in Nigeria that called for collective action to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation by 2030. FGM is a dangerous, harmful and unnecessary cultural practice, a physical assault that causes grievous bodily harm - it is therefore the responsibility of the international community, domestic governments and civil society to work together in fighting to protect girls of the future from such inhumane practice.

“The UN estimates that if current trends continue, 15 million more girls between 15 and 19 will be cut within the next 14 years. It is our job as international citizens to prevent this from happening.

“FGM was criminalised in Nigeria in 2015, signifying a historic step towards outlawing the practice globally. However, FGM remains legal in Mali, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia, among others, and continues to be practiced in other countries despite it being outlawed.

“At the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, we train midwives on the safe delivery of babies and best perinatal care practices. It is my belief that it is through midwives and maternal care that FGM can be overturned in Nigeria.

“Midwives are best placed to detect FGM, and to urge mothers not to subject their daughters to this harmful practice. The right legislation is in place. Now what is needed is a mentality of change and a greater understanding of the risks to eliminate the practice completely,” she added.

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Mrs Saraki also said that sexist attitudes and a misunderstanding of the facts surrounding the health risks associated with FGM must be challenged.

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