Female genital mutilation reduced in Nigeria

UNFPA provides marginalised communities with SRHR information

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has revealed that the latest data on the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria has shown a 25 percent reduction in 2013 to 20 percent by 2018.

The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) in 2013 had reported that the prevalence of FGM was 25 per cent for women aged 15-49.

Giving the latest update after a walk against FGM in Abuja on Saturday, UNFPA resident representative in Nigeria, Ulla Müller, said the NDHS 2018 survey indicates a downward slope.

The walk was held as part of activities to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child.

“In Nigeria, according to the 2018 NDHS, an overall 20 per cent of women aged 15-49 have been circumcised, down 5 per cent from the 2013 NDHS.

“Across the five UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme for the elimination of FGM intervention states, FGM prevalence for women aged 15-49 is on a downward slope, although it is still unacceptably high across the states.”

While not indicating if the assessment is still valid for 2021, she quoted the NDHS 2013/2018 statistics,  and said in Osun State, the prevalence reduced from 78 per cent to 45.9 per cent; Ebonyi: 74 per cent to 53.2 per cent; Ekiti: 72 per cent to 57.9 per cent; Imo: 68 per cent to 61.7 per cent, and Oyo: 66 per cent to 31.1 per cent.

Ms Müller urged Nigerian youths and the digital generation to “develop skills to create quality contents; find, select and evaluate digital sources of information and use ICT to develop positive behavioural relationships that will contribute to the elimination of FGM in Nigeria”.

She added that the UNFPA is working with youth-led organisations to reach Nigerian adolescents with accurate sexual and reproductive health information through digital tools and technology.

Also present at the event was the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen. She hoped that the walk creates awareness that will reduce the rate of FGM practises.

“We need to provide more education by increasing advocacy on the health danger posed on girls and women by the practice of FGM,” the minister said, adding that; “The financial cost implication of treating complications on nation’s economy and the degradation of women dignity is higher than investments on prevention.”

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