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The Impact of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the Nigerian Economy

"FGM is not only a catastrophic abuse of human rights that significantly harms [...] millions of girls and women, it is also a drain on a country's vital economic resources" — Ian Askew, World Health Organisation
Published 5 April 2022

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of female genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a human rights violation, a public health issue and has substantially detrimental economic consequences. It is a traditional cultural practice in many states in Africa, the Middle East and in Asia. It is also practiced in the US1 and the UK2 by immigrant groups. More than 200 million girls and women living today have experienced FGM. In Africa, it is estimated that 92-million girls aged ten and older have undergone an FGM procedure. One quarter of global estimates of the practice of FGM occur in Nigeria.

In 2020, the World Health Organisation(WHO) has issued a formal declaration in which it has described this retrogressive practice as exacting a "crippling" economic toll on many countries. The WHO's head of sexual and reproductive health, Ian Askew, said in a statement in 2020 that "FGM is not only a catastrophic abuse of human rights that significantly harms [...] millions of girls and women, it is also a drain on a country's vital economic resources." WHO expert Dr Christina Pallitto said that the long-term impacts of infection and pain could also affect girls' school attendance and work opportunities.


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