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21.10.2007 General News

Police urges nurses' cooperation on FGM law


The Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service in the Upper West Region has urged the support of nurses working in community clinics in exposing perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in their areas.

Inspector Emmanuel Mwinsori, Regional head of the DVVSU, said some communities still practised the outlawed FGM culture in the region and that although the people were aware of the ban against it, they were unwilling to report the culprits for prosecution.

Inspector Mwinsori was speaking at an evaluation seminar on the eradication of FGM in the region. It was organized by the Centre for National Culture (CNC) for cultural officers, gender desk officers and advocacy groups, herbalists and traditional rulers.

The seminar was the second to be organized by the CNC as a follow-up to an earlier one held in May 2004, to find out whether the people were respecting the law banning the practice.

Inspector Mwinsori held that nurses working in rural clinics have not also been helpful, adding that they often refused to cooperate with the police whenever they tried to investigate cases relating to complications from FGM that had been sent to the clinics for treatment.

"I personally followed one such case to a community clinic in the Wa West District having disguised myself, but the nurses there refused to talk to me because they were afraid that they could face the wrath of community members if they gave me the identities of the perpetrators."

Inspector Mwinsori said three years ago, a woman from Loggu in the Wa district was jailed for five years for practicing FGM and since then "no single FGM case has since been reported" to the police.

Mr Mark Dagbee, Regional Director of CNC, noted that FGM was a deep-seated customary practice that would take time to be eradicated from the region. "Cultures died hard and some people will naturally resist change."

He said it was imperative that the situation was evaluated properly for all stakeholders to mount a relentless campaign to stop the practice.