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UNFPA, the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM work to combat the medicalization of FGM

As UNFPA continues to work with the National Committee for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to eliminate the harmful practice, the first of a series of meetings was held this week to discuss combating the medicalization of FGM.

The first meeting, held on December 7, aimed to develop a framework to combat the medicalization of FGM under the auspices of the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM, in the presence of the President of the National Council for Women, Dr. Maya Morsy, Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, Dr. Sahar El-Sonbaty and UNFPA Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist Nada Naja.

Dr. Morsy lamented the association between medical professionals and FGM, adding that doctors should work to end this practice in Egypt.

On her part, Dr. Sonbaty said that the medicalization of FGM is a violation of girls’ rights, and that medical professionals should play a role in raising the awareness of mothers and grandmothers around the harms of FGM.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Health and Population, the Forensic Medicine Department, the Medical Syndicate, the Nursing Syndicate, the University of Assiut, the International Population Council, the General Federation of Associations and NGOs and Ain Shams University.

“Under the general guidance of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme to Eliminate FGM, UNFPA is committed to continue its support for the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM and the Ministry of Health and Population to accelerate ending the phenomenon called the medicalization of FGM in Egypt,” Naja said.

According to the national 2014 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 92 percent of Egyptian married women between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone FGM, 82 percent of whom by doctors.

In June of 2008, the Egyptian Parliament agreed to criminalize FGM in the Penal Code, establishing a minimum custodial sentence of three months and a maximum of two years, or an alternative minimum penalty of EGP 1,000 and a maximum of EGP 5,000.