• Monday, June 17, 2024
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FMG: HACEY Health takes Stop Cut Project to Osun

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Hacey Health Initiative has collaborated with the Osun state government to end Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FMG/C) in the state through the Stop Cut Project.

Convened by HACEY Health Initiative, the partnership meeting to deliberate on the Stop Cut Project and existing policies, plans and systems to reduce FGM/C in Osun state was held with stakeholders and relevant agencies in the state.

The project which is aimed at reducing the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting in Nigeria by improving the enforcement of protective laws and increasing public knowledge and positive behavioral change among communities and stakeholders.

The project is funded by The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) and is being implemented over the next three years in Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states, which have the highest prevalence of FGM in Southwest Nigeria.

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women is the only global grant-making mechanism dedicated exclusively to addressing all forms of violence against women and girls at local and national levels. To date, the UN Trust Fund has supported 572 organizations in 140 countries and territories.

Welcoming stakeholders to the session, Rafiu Isamotu, Commissioner of Health, stated that the prevalence of FGM/C in Osun state is worrisome and innovative programs such as the Stop Cut project which aims to reduce the rate of FGM/C in the state, is welcome.

He assured that the State will continually make productive efforts towards putting an end to FGM/C in the state and would render necessary support to the initiative towards this.

Making a presentation on the Stop Cut project, Rhoda Robinson, executive director of HACEY Health Initiative, explained that the project aims to reduce the prevalence of FGM/C by improving law enforcement systems and enhancing public knowledge and awareness via strengthened collaborative efforts championed by critical stakeholders.

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She shared that the initiative intended to build the capacities of stakeholders to promote sustained efforts towards the achievement of the goals of the project over the next couple of years.

Also speaking, Toyin Adelowokan, FGM/C coordinator for Osun State, outlined the prevalence, contributory factors and policy against FGM/C in the state.

According to her, the prevalence rate of FGM/C in Osun State has reduced from 98.9percent in 1998 to 45.9percent in 2018 due to collaborative efforts in ending FGM/C by Osun State government, international organizations, CSOs, and other stakeholders.

However, she stated that FGM/C is still being practiced in the state and no one has been caught and punished for practicing. Tradition, religion and myths/misconceptions were noted in her presentation as the major contributory factors to FGM/C in the state.

Representing the Ministry of Justice, Barrister Titiloye Kayode stressed that eradicating FGM/C in Osun state is of high priority to the Ministry as it awaits an FGM/C case to be reported for the law to take action.

He noted that there is a need to amend and review Osun State FGM/C law of 2004 to make it more effective, encompassing and compelling to encourage reporting from health workers and whistleblowers.

The meeting had in attendance stakeholders and representatives for various health ministries, agencies, CSOs and the media.

In his closing remark, Gbenga Adepoju, director of Public Health, appreciated all stakeholders for participating in the stakeholders’ meeting of the Stop Cut project.