Lack of Safety Centres Fueling FGM in Amudat –Kadaga

2945 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Although FGM was declared illegal by an act of parliament, the practice, which involves altering the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, remains prevalent among the Pokot, Sabiny and Tepeth tribes in the districts of Kapchorwa, Kween, Amudat and Bukwo, among others, in eastern Uganda.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has expressed dismay at the absence of safety centres in Amudat district where girls can seek refuge from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Although FGM was declared illegal by an act of parliament, the practice, which involves altering the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, remains prevalent among the Pokot, Sabiny and Tepeth tribes in the districts of Kapchorwa, Kween, Amudat and Bukwo, among others, in eastern Uganda.

Between 2012 and 2013, close to 1000 girls are reported to have sought refuge in schools, designated as 'Safety Centres in the six districts where the practice is rampant.  However, the absence of a safety centre in Amudat district is exposing girls to danger.

Medical experts and activists have argued that FGM can cause severe bleeding and health issues including infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and the increased risk of newborn deaths.

Kadaga says Uganda needs to protect girls from such life threatening practices adding that while the country has registered some success in Kapchorwa and Kween, there is more work to be done in the districts of Bukwo and Amudat.
 
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Kadaga was interfacing with Alain Sibenaler, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative ahead of the FGM Global Consultations that Uganda is hosting next week. The global consultation is organized jointly by UNFPA and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Sibenaler said that the Consultation brings together experts and practitioners in the field of fighting against female genital mutilation. He noted that a steering committee of this global program will traverse sub-regions where the practice is rampant with a view of interacting and educating communities against the practice.
 
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The FGM Global Consultation that is to take place at the Golf Course Hotel, Kampala will attract 150 participants from over 20 countries including Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Sudan, Egypt, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and others. 150 participants are expected to attend.

Uganda banned FGM in 2009 with a law that imposed harsh penalties for participation in the practice of FGM. The law provides for a 10 year jail sentence for any person convicted of practicing FGM and life imprisonment for incidences that lead to death, disability or result in the victim's infection with HIV/AIDS.
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.