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Experts warn of emerging FGM trend against women

Health experts in Baringo County have raised alarm over a new headache in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

This is after it was reported to stakeholders that women aged above 30 were being lured to undergo the cut in remote parts of the county during the festive season.

The experts expressed concerns that Baringo was realizing an upward trend in FGM prevalence yet the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) report of 2022 shows that the prevalence has been on a steady decline countrywide.

According to the report, 21.2 percent of women in the vast county have undergone retrogressive cultural practice in comparison with the national ratings of 15 percent.

County Chief Officer (CO) for Economic Planning Michael Ngetich who officially opened the KDHS County dissemination workshop at a Kabarnet hotel noted that it is saddening to hear about such undoing in a time when stringent measures have been put in place to curb the illegal cultural practice among girls.

Ngetich called upon the relevant authorities to act decisively on such outdated cultural practices so as not take back the gains made in the fight against FGM in the county.

The CO pointed out that the findings from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the county is performing dismally in maternal and child health which puts neonatal, infant and under five mortalities across the seven sub-counties at 33, 50 and 55 deaths per 1,000 live births.

“It is not only the health sector which is supposed to work on these indicators, all of us need to work as a team in order to improve the living standards of our people,” he said.

Ngetich’s sentiments were echoed by Kabarnet Assistant County Commissioner Jane Suter who challenged the participants to utilize the findings of the report to gauge the progress in their respective departments.

Suter lamented that it was worrying to learn of some backward practices like FGM still taking centre stage in parts of Mogotio, Tiaty and the lower sides of Baringo North and Marigat Sub counties which should not be happening in this 21st century.

The ACC called for a collaborative approach to eradicate the vice which she noted is dangerous and was inflicting serious damage and unimaginable pain on women and girls in affected communities.

KNBS senior manager Paul Samoei who was the team leader during the dissemination meeting urged professionals to delve into some of the root causes of the illegal practices and come up with an alternative solution to the matter.

By Benson Kelio

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