The President of Nigeria Inter-Africa Committee on Campaigns against Harmful Traditional Practices against Women and Girls, Modupe Onadeko, ha said that 60 per cent of families in Oyo State still engage in female genital mutilation.
She made the disclosure in an interview in Ibadan on Tuesday.
Ms. Onadeko, a retired community physician and consultant on reproductive and family health, said the national average prevalence rate on female genital mutilation stands at 50 per cent.
She said February 6 of every year had been declared by the World Health Organisation as zero tolerance day against female genital mutilation to discourage the harmful act.
The medical expert said mutilation is usually carried when a girl is between the ages of eight days and 18 years.
“Some girls were mutilated on the eve of their wedding while some women were cut a few weeks to their delivery day.
“Reasons why this practice was done were mainly based on the African culture which believes that if a girl is not circumcised, she will be promiscuous when she gets old.
“Some people also believe that if the baby’s head touches the clitoris, it will die among others reasons,’’ she said.
Ms. Onadeko said female genital mutilation usually leads to severe pain and in some cases death.
She added that the act could cause haemorrhage which might also lead to cardiac arrest, painful urination, urinary tract infections, HIV and keloid.
Ms. Onadeko said a girl can also get her hips fractured from pressure on the hip when the adult pins down the child during mutilation.
The professor added that the long term effects of female genital mutilation include infertility due to blocked tube.
She said her committee had designed strategies to tackle harmful traditional practices, adding that practitioners involved would be given alternative professions to become effective change agents.
Ms. Onadeko added that the committee would embark on sensitization campaigns through seminars and film shows in all the local governments of Oyo State this year.
“We will target auxiliary nurses and different health professionals at the local government level.
“Even though prevalence rate is getting low, we will not stop our campaigns until there is total eradication of this harmful practice,” she said.