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Cooperation by UNICEF in the elimination of traditional practices affecting the health of women and children in Africa (Extract).
In: Report on a Seminar on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa, organized by the Senegal Ministry of Public Health and the NGO Working Group on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children. Dakar, Senegal, Ministry of Public Health and NGO Working Group on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women adn Children, 1984. 182-4.This contribution begins with a statement of praise for the efforts of the Senegal conference, complimenting the conference's recognition of positive and negative influencing practices. Positive practices should be encouraged with arguments and striking examples. Attention is drawn to UNICEF document PRO-71, the product of the 1980 Inter-Organization Consultation Meeting on Combating the Practice of Female Circumcision (FC), through the improvement of women's status, and the elimination of false ideologies such as those related to the necessity of FC for the preservation of female modesty, virginity, and chastity. Further attention is drawn to the efforts of a multi-disciplinary study group on FC set up in Ivory coast. Finally, the readiness of UNICEF to further female and child health development, and growth chart, oral rehydration, breastfeeding immunization, food supplementation, family spacing, and female education developments, are discussed.
Lexington, Massachusetts, Women's International Network News, 1982 Nov. 338 p.This report documents the existence and prevalence in Africa and in other regions of the world of the cultural practice of female circumcision and genital mutilation (FC/GM). This serious problem is examined so that it can be abolished. Until recently the problem was hidden from the public, and most health, government and international agency officials denied that the practices were widespread. In 1979 at a World Health Organization (WHO) seminar on traditional health practices, the problem received international attention. Recommendations made by the seminar participants urged nations to adopt policies to abolish FC/GM, to establish commissions to coordinate activities aimed at abolishing the practices, and to intensify efforts to educate the public and health professionals about the problem. In 1984 it was estimated that 79.97 million women in Africa had FC/GM operations performed at some time during their life. The proportion of women who have had FC/GM operations was almost 100% in Somalia, 90% in Ethiopia, 80% in Sudan, Mali, and Sierra Leone, and 60% in Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Gambia. Information is provided on 1) the extent of the practices, 2) the health problems associated with FC/GM, 3) the 1979 WHO seminar, 4) the history of FC/GM, and 5) the cultural beliefs supporting the practices. Case histories provide detailed information on the practices in 11 African countries, 4 countries on the Arab Pennisula, and 2 Asian countries, including Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Upper Volta, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The existence of FC/GM practices in many other countries, including Western nations, is also documented. These practices are also discussed in reference to the depressed status of women in many African countries, and the role of women in these countries is examined in regard to legal matters, education, employment, agriculture, family planning, development, and urbanization. Political factors hindering the abolition of the practices and the hesitancy of international agencies such as WHO, US Agency for International Development, and the UN Children's Fund, to deal with the problem are discussed. There is some evidence that FC/GM operations are being conducted in hospitals in a number of African countries, and efforts must be made to prohibit the introduction of these practices into the modern health care system. Suggestions are provided for action and education programs aimed at abolishing FC/GM practices. An annotated bibliograpy, containing 78 references, is also provided.