FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Dr Sylvia Anthony-Eweputanna, a pediatrician at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, says Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is capable of causing cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and others as complication of perinatal asphyxia on babies.
Cerebral palsy is a medical term which refers to various types of paralysis, often accompanied by weakness and the loss of feeling and uncontrolled body movements such as shaking.
Anthony-Eweputanna said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, in commemoration of the World Zero Tolerance Day for FGM.
FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons and it has four types.
Type 1 is the partial or total removal of the glans clitoris (the external and visible part of the clitoris, which is a sensitive part of the female genitals) and or the prepuce/ clitoral hood (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
Type 2 is the partial or total removal of the glans clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva) with or without removal of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva).
Type 3, also known as infibulation, is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal, where the seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora.
Type 4 includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scrapping and cauterising the genital.
The pediatrician, who reiterated the need to end the harmful practice, said type three of FGM was capable of causing cerebral palsy on babies as a result of narrowing of the introitus.
She added that “type three FGM causes cerebral palsy, intellectual disability because there is narrowing of the introitus postpartum hemorrhage.
“On the baby; may have cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, motor disabilities etc as a complication of perinatal asphyxia.
“It can also cause recurrent and chronic vaginal infections, dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation) dyspareunia (painful intercourse) infertility and voiding difficulties,” she said.
She decried the practice of cutting or removal of the external female genitalia, describing it as injurious to the female genital organs with non medical benefits.
According to her, the immediate complications include bleeding, infections like HIV, pain, while long term complications include effects on the mother, difficult delivery, obstructed labour and prolonged labour.
Societies and communities around the globe practice the different types of FGM, claiming it is a panacea for promiscuity and means of protecting women’s chastity.
In Nigeria, the 2018 Nigeria and Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) report shows that the practice is prevalent in the South-South with 77 per cent, followed by South East with 68 per cent, South West with 65 per cent, but practiced on a smaller scale in the North.