Health News of Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Source: GNA

Female Genital Mutilation still practiced Ghana

Circumcision of female children seems to be on the increase in the Bawku Municipality and its environs as parents are still carrying out the act secretly.

Statistics by stakeholders including the Social Welfare, Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service shows that children between the ages of one year to 17 years go through the ordeal in Bawku or neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo or Niger.

About 30 per cent of girls living in the area are recruited to undergo the exercise in Bawku or sent to the neighboring countries yearly.

Most of the girls, who go through the act, either become school dropouts or face psychological problems, because they must stay at home until the wound heals which takes a long time.

Mrs Lydia Issaka, Municipal Girl-Child Education Officer, disclosed this at an advocacy forum organized by the Municipal Education Directorate for stakeholders, opinion leaders, traditional leaders, artisan groups and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

The forum was aimed at find lasting solutions to the problem of female circumcision, as it was hampering the education of girls at Bawku in the Upper East Region.

Mrs Issaka noted that about 15 girls believed to have gone through the practice could not take part in the Basic Education Certificate Examination this year.

She explained that most girls are lured to neighbouring countries by their parents or close relatives, where they are forcibly circumcised.

Communities that practice female circumcisions include Pusiga, Zong-Ntinga, Jentiga and Badoor, among others in the municipality.

She called on stakeholders to expedite action on finding an antidote to the issue as it was the major factor for the falling standards of education, especially girls in the area.

Mr. Benedict Yindol, Bawku Municipal Director of Education, said challenges including supervision, poor performance and girl- child education were the major issues hindering the development of education in the area.

He said as a result of the ban on men from riding motor bikes in the municipality, circuit supervisors found it difficult to reach their circuits to supervise teachers.

He said even though there are many challenges facing the directorate it had instituted the school monthly census to check on teachers.

Mr. Yindol said the inspectorate unit had adopted the mass supervising approach in which all supervisors move to a circuit at a time to supervise teaching and learning.