CS Prof. Kobia warns rogue medical practitioners derailing the fight to end FGM

Medical officers using their hospitals to practice FGM have been warned of prosecution and deregistration if found engaging in harmful and illegal practice.

In a meeting with Baringo county administration officers at the Kenya School of Government in Kabarnet town, Public Service and Gender Cabinet Secretary Professor Margaret Kobia denounced some medical practitioners derailing the gains made by the government in eradicating FGM in the country by using their health facilities as havens for FGM practice.

Prof. Kobia revealed that the Ministry of Health had been enlisted in the Inter-Ministerial Committee to spearhead the eradication of FGM by 2022 as per the Presidential Directive and will be conducting surveillance on the rogue medical officers and clinics perpetrating the crime.

She observed that the Cabinet had approved the formation of the Multi-Agency Technical Committee to end FGM in the country, comprising 10 ministries, departments, and agencies with overlapping mandates who are working to accelerate the end to FGM by 2022 as per the Presidential Directive.

“The Government through Cabinet has approved the Committee to fight the vice. I am very sure that if these Ministries which have overlapping mandates work together, we shall definitely end FGM by the year 2022,” said the CS.

“We are fighting this vice not because of the Presidential Directive. We have to believe that the practice is harmful, it has no value and it complicates the health of girls and women and is one of the barriers to gender equality because women have been disadvantaged by undergoing through the cultural practice that also contributes to poverty,” she added.

The CS further urged the Chiefs to be more vigilant than before to ensure that FGM comes to an end in their respective areas of jurisdictions. She added that the prolonged school closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted the safety of girls as more girls were at the risk of the cut. She called on parents and guardians to be the first duty bearers to protect girls from harmful cultural practices.

“Schools have been a safe haven for children. They are now exposed and are at very high risk of not only being subjected to FGM but are also at high risk of early and forced child marriage, rape, and teenage pregnancy,” Prof. Kobia said adding:  “FGM is a criminal offense and those caught conducting the vice will face the full force of the law.”

She called on the NGAOs to fully support the President to achieve the 2022 target of zero FGM prevalence noting that President Uhuru Kenyatta is the Africa champion against Gender-Based Violence and hence Kenya needs to eliminate the vice to give impetus to the campaign regionally.

The CS was accompanied by State Department for Public Service Principal Secretary Mrs. Mary Kimonye who committed to empowering the public service through the Kenya School of Government to end the practice. Others were Anti FGM BOARD Chairperson Mrs. Agnes Pareyio, CEO Mrs. Bernadette Loloju, County Commissioner Mr. Henry Wafula, UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Ademola Olajide among others.