30 FGM survivors to undergo reconstructive clitoral surgery

30 FGM survivors to undergo reconstructive clitoral surgery

Nearly 30 women who had suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) will this week undergo free reconstructive surgery at Karen Hospital, Nairobi County.

Speaking at the hospital Monday, May 8, supervising surgeon Dr Marci Bowers said that the procedure will ensure that the patients will be able experience sexual pleasure.

Though FGM was banned in Kenya in 2011, 21 percent of women have undergone the cut – this is according to the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey and UNICEF.

Dr Bowers, who has been dealing with FGM cases since the 1980s, said that the damage done by the cut can be reversed.

“The procedure is just a simple process carried out to restore the clitoris. It can be taught to any trained surgeon, (so that they can) continue attending to the patients (after this week’s intervention is completed),” said Dr Bowers.

Already, two surgeons based at Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital have been trained on the procedure and 26 women have already benefited from the Clitoriaid intervention.

Keeping women ‘virtuous’

Kenya is ranked 3rd in Africa when it comes to the prevalence of the cut, with the practice being largely cultural.

Often, FGM is performed during puberty to ensure that girls stay ‘virtuous’ as they approach marriage.

“Most of the FGM victims claim to have undergone the exercise at the age of between 10-16 years,” said Loise Kahoro, a reconstructive plastic surgeon.

Dr Kahoro explained that, after the practice, women often lose sensation in their private parts – a situation that he says brings tension in families.

After undergoing the reconstructive procedure, sexual contact has been improved in 90 percent of the patients, Dr Aden Abdullahi said.

This has, however, been reversed in 99 per cent of the women who have already undergone the procedure.

The oldest patient scheduled to receive treatment this week is aged 62, while the youngest is 18 years old.

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Story By Elizabeth Kibor
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