Post-ablation genital reconstruction program
For mutilated women to regain sensitive ability, sexual satisfaction and to feel a complete woman
There are about 140 million girls in the world who have undergone genital mutilation and consequences of this initiation ritual involve pain, lack of sensitivity, urinary tract infections, genital lacerations, fistulas and, in many cases, infertility.
Photo by Carmen Secanella.
The Dexeus Mujer Foundation, through the Dexeus Mujer professionals and the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, carries out the genital ablation Reconstruction Program, launched in April 2007.
What is about
The post-ablation reconstruction program consists of helping mutilated women to recover the appearance and sensory ability, after having suffered an ablation in their countries of origin. The Dexeus Mujer Foundation offers a free reconstructive surgery of the clitoris that allows to restore anatomically the affected genital organs in a 90% of cases. In a 75% of patients, there is also a functional recuperation.
The genital reconstruction Program is part of the social assistance work of the Dexeus Mujer Foundation, and is led by Dr. Pere Barri Soldevila, who was the first doctor in Spain who performed this surgery. Its launch was a pioneering initiative in our country, and it helped to give this problem visibility and to help many women.
The profile of the women who want to recover their mutilated member, previously removed in whole or in part, responds to an African immigrant, 27 years old on average born in a foreign country or who came to the new western town where she lives when she was a baby. The reconstruction represents a big step for the inclusion of women in western society.
This initiation ritual involves several consequences:
- Lack of sensitivity.
- Urinary and genital tract infections.
- Genital Lacerations.
Candidates for this surgery, desiring to reconstruct the genital mutilation, must be resident in Spain, as the program does not contemplate the possibility of transferring patients from Africa to be operated and then returned to their country, in order to avoid the risk of being ostracized there.
How it's done
The intervention takes approximately 45 minutes and its aim is to restore anatomically the clitoris and other affected organs, as well as regain their appearance and sensory capacity, something that is achieved by more than 75% of cases. The reconstruction is a big step for these women to feel better with their own body, but so far it has been also lived as a taboo, since it is a ritual that is part of the tradition. In addition, most admit that it has been a very traumatic process. That is why it is fundamental to make a psychological accompaniment. In our centre we offer a visit for psychological support before and after the intervention, carried out by the Department of Psychiatry at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus.
The cost of each intervention is 3,100 euros, assumed by the Dexeus Mujer Foundation. Most of the patients seen by the Foundation live in Catalonia, mainly in the provinces of Barcelona and Girona. But they also come from other Spanish cities, especially Madrid.
The support of the media is of great help to spread this program among immigrant women resident in Spain, and it has contributed for the flow of patients to continue growing progressively, to 97 women operated from its creation.
In 2011 Dr. Pere Barri Soldevila received the Premio Fundación Princesa de Girona (FPdGi) within the social sphere, because of his social commitment through this medical initiative pioneer in Spain.
In the same year, the call for Social Action projects grants of Obra Social “la Caixa” selected and awarded the project of the Post-ablation Female Genital Reconstruction, led by the Dexeus Mujer Foundation.
In 2013 the program received the award of the Mossos d'Esquadra in recognition for its valuable contribution to the fight against female genital mutilation and the extraordinary social work.
If you want to make a donation to cover the cost of interventions for these patients, you can make your contribution through the platform www.migranodearena.org
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