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Anti-FGM Campaigners Mark Progress in Egypt

We News, 23.12.2013. By Jessica Gray

After the death of 13-year-old Suhair al Bata’a this summer, an intensive awareness campaign about the hazards of FGM/C reached into 11 governorates across Egypt. But advocates say the battle against a practice dating back to the age of the Pharaohs will take time and persistence.

CAIRO, Egypt (WOMENSENEWS)– Egyptian gynecologist Dr. Randa Fakhr Eldeen still remembers the horror she felt 20 years ago at seeing a victim of female genital mutilation, or cutting, for the first time.

The girl, only about 10 years old, had been rushed to Manshiet el Bakry Hospital’s emergency room in the capital, suffering massive blood loss. Eldeen, still in training, said she was confused by the girl’s life-threatening injuries.

“I didn’t know what had happened because we don’t practice FGM/C in my family . . . It’s not taught in medical school . . . She was unconscious and we had to give her [several] blood transfusions. I think she was given six bags of blood. She was going to die and her mother [kept] crying about her hymen,” recalls Eldeen. “I couldn’t stay in the emergency room. I had to leave. I was crying.”

FGM/C, also known as female circumcision, has a long history in Egypt. She says the practice came from Ethiopia during the Pharaonic era. In 2007 the practice was outlawed after the death of a 12-year-old in Minya. Nonetheless, the vast majority of women between 15 and 49 have endured the procedure. A 2008 Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of women married at least once puts the estimate at 91 percent. Read More

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