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Nigerian health official laments female circumcision rates

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday February 6, 2007

Abuja- More than 40 per cent of Nigerian women have undergone circumcision, a traditional religious practise with serious health consequences, a state health official said Tuesday. Sule Odoma, commissioner for health in the central Kogi State, said about 28 million Nigerian girls and women had undergone various forms of female circumcision, among 120 million women circumcized around the world.

He said at least two million girls worldwide had to undergo the unwholesome traditional practise every year. The procedure poses a wide range of health risks to women, including causing infections, painful menstruation, painful intercourse as well as severe bleeding and genital laceration during any delivery.

The health ministry has launched an awareness campaign, visiting rural populations to alert them to the health and social consequences of the practise, according to Aisha Mohammed, coordinator of the programme.

Odoma said that while the prevalence rate in Nigeria stood at 40.5 per cent of the female population, distribution among states ranged from 98 to 0.6 per cent.

Kogi State was lucky to be among the lower percentage as only pockets of such practices could still be found in the state, while the south-western part of the country had the highest rates.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency