Speaking to Voice of America, Medical Anthropologist Elise Johansen joins the widespread call to end Female Genital Mutilation:
…FGM, a practice which dates back thousands of years, persists despite widespread recognition of its harmful physical and psychological effects on girls and women.
Involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, FGM’s immediate health complications include severe pain, shock and hemorrhage, and longer-term consequences such as cyst formation, infertility, increased risk of childbirth complications, and newborn deaths.
Elise Johansen, a Medical Anthropologist for the World Health Organization (WHO), says that although traditional circumcisers remain the primary practitioners of FGM, doctors, nurses and other health-care providers are increasingly conducting the procedure, perpetuating the so-called medicalization of FGM.
“By allowing health care providers to perform FGM, it signals that this is an okay practice, that maybe it is healthy or harmless,” she says, explaining that the WHO strongly opposes the practice. “So it actually contributes to make sure that the practice continues, I think.”
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