Health News of Thursday, 7 February 2013

Source: GNA

Watchdog committees needed to monitor FGM - NGO

Mr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, Chief Executive Officer of Mission of Hope Society, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has called for the establishment of a watchdog committee to ensure the ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.

He said though many stakeholders had condemned the outmoded traditional practice, it was still high in some communities in Brong-Ahafo Region, Upper West Region, Upper East Region and Northern Region.

Mr Benarkuu said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during the commemoration of this year’s celebration of the United Nation’s (UN) Day against FGM in Sunyani.

The Day was instituted by the UN to campaign for the elimination of the FGM practice globally.

Mr Benarkuu explained that Ghana could not achieve the Millennium Development Goals Four and Five (maternal and child health) because efforts were not being made to stop the criminal and outmoded traditional values such as the FGM and widowhood rites.

He said FGM practice was a violation against human rights and the practice could be brought under control when watchdog committees were set up in communities which continue with the practice.

Mr Benarkuu explained that practitioners in the name of tradition depended on the heinous act to earn their living while victims went through physical and psychological trauma.

“Having worked in these regions for over 17 years as a Social Development Practitioner, I have a fair understanding of what is still occurring in these areas,” he added.

Mr Benarkuu appealed to government to resource the Department of Social Welfare and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVSSU) of the Ghana Police Service to enable them work effectively towards the fight against FGM.