Friday, 20 July 2007

Reconstructive surgery after FGM - counterproductive?

There is a report in the Voice of America, telling the story of a woman, Abi Sanon, who has had reconstructive surgery after having been circumcised as a one week old baby. The surgeon who performed the reconstruction was Michel Akotionga, one of the doctors trained by Dr Fold├Ęs.

Apart from Abi Sanon's own story, there is a quote from Benjamine Doamba. She was circumcised herself and campaigns against FGM. She says she feels no less a woman for having had it done and has no need to have reconstructive surgery, but fully supports anyone who does.

She raises an interesting point by saying that she worries that the publicity surrounding reconstructive surgery deflects attention from the more important campaign to eradicate the practice. Additionally, she is afraid that if parents are in two minds about whether to have the procedure done on their daughters, they may have it done anyway, because it's reversible later on anyway.

I can understand how that thought could come about, but if the education which must be part of the campaign against FGM is done well, parents will realise that they could be inflicting years of physical and mental pain in the meantime. Reconstructive surgery can only do so much.

Read Papillon's story.

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