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Health Care Workers and Campaigners gather at a Conference to End Medicalization FGM in Kisii County, Kenya

By Walter Mounde 

Walter Mounde is an anti-FGM campaigner who has worked hard to build connections with health care workers in Kisii county. A conference, running on the Day of the African Child (DAC) was held, discussing – the problems within the health care sector and what needs to be done to stop the medicalization of FGM.

The project:   

To address FGM medicalization, we conducted professional dialogues with healthcare workers on FGM to initiate advocacy within the medical fraternity to stop healthcare workers from conducting the cut. 

The professional dialogue involved the County Health Management Team (CHMT) in Kisii county and grass-root campaigners who discussed the dynamics of FGM in Kisii county that was broadcasted live on Facebook on The CECOME page https://fb.watch/6ladKkdbAX/ .

The two-hour discussion discussed the statistics presented by the ministry researchers; the role of healthcare workers in guiding the citizenry in observing the law, promoting human rights, promoting the abandonment of FGM as a traditional harmful practice, and their strict adherence to professional medical standards and the Hippocratic oath. 

After the dialogue, the CHMT will hold a press conference to address the media on their commitment to End FGM, made a call to all healthcare workers to abandon the cut, reiterated their commitment to support the president to achieve zero FGM cases by 2022, and promote advocacy to end FGM medicalization.

 The CECOME director reinforced her sentiments with a call for stepped-up advocacy within the grassroots campaigners and promoted better working relationships between campaigners and healthcare workers. 

Media reach:

The press conference was covered by NTV, Capital FM, Kisii FM, Egesa FM, Getembe TV, Kisii Hot TV, Milele FM, The star, standard, and the Nation Newspaper. 

However, a few were published:

https://youtu.be/4-svAw_2f1g Approximate reach 5,000 people

https://youtu.be/1aQmt9AlWZk Approximate reach 50,000 people

The press conference was also aired on Kisii FM with a reach of 2 million people and Egesa FM has a reach of 5 million people. 

Our success:

The campaign was successful as it’s the first time healthcare workers have been engaged in medicalization and they accepted. In previous incidences, medics have come out to dispute reports implicating them in perpetrating FGM but on this particular one, they all accepted and committed to being part of campaigns against FGM.

Here is the link to the dialogue. https://fb.watch/6ladKkdbAX/


Strong messages that were picked up from our discussions:

  • Quacks in the healthcare system are conducting FGM and tainting the name of healthcare workers.
  • Healthcare workers in retirement and in private practice need a regulation especially in their high involvement in FGM.
  • Private clinics were accused of perpetrating FGM the most and medics asked for regulations on the same.

Birth complications resulting from FGM still high in Kisii  

Next time… 

I could involve a higher level of healthcare workers like the Director Health Kisii County, CECs, and other boards involved in regulating healthcare. This is so that they implement suggestions made especially on regulating healthcare. 

Ruth Harley

Ruth Harley is an opera singer, writer, and creative. She is running The Women’s Vinyl Project which empowers women and girls through singing and music. She is working with GMC as the Website News Editor, compiling stories written by End FGM campaigners working with the Global Media Campaign to End FGM across Africa.