February 6th, 2020
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
- This surgery is performed within the Genital Reconstruction Program offered by the Dexeus Mujer Foundation since 2007.
- The driving force of this social Program is Dr Pere Barri Soldevila, who was the first doctor in Spain performing this surgery.
Barcelona, February 5th, 2020 - On the occasion of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), that will take place tomorrow all around the world, the Dexeus Mujer Foundation made public the last data of Post-mutilation genital reconstruction program, which offers for free since 2007. The program is addressed to immigrant women who suffered a mutilation in their home countries and reside in Spain. Since its launch to 2019, it dealt with about 161 consultations and performed the reconstruction on a total of 105 women.
The genital reconstruction Program is part of the social assistance work of Dexeus Mujer Foundation and it is led by Dr Pere Barri Soldevila, who was the first doctor in Spain performing this surgery. Its launch was a pioneering initiative in our country, and it contributed giving this problem visibility, helping many women.
The surgery lasts about 45 minutes and its objective is to anatomically give back the clitoris and other affected organs, as well as to recover their appearance and sensitivity, which is achieved in more than 75% of the cases. Reconstruction represents a big step forward to these women in order to feel better with their body, but up to that moment it is felt as a taboo, as it is a ritual that is part of tradition. Moreover, most of them admit that it was a traumatic process. That’s why psychological support is fundamental. “We offer in our centre a psychological support visit before and after the intervention”, explains Dr Barri Soldevila, “Furthermore, most of them are very young, the average age is 28”, adds the doctor.
According to the data compiled in Feminine Genital Mutilation Map, developed by the Wassu-UAB Foundation, there are in Spain almost 70,000 women coming from countries where feminine genital mutilation is performed (about 2% of total foreign population). Among them, about 25% are younger than 14.
According to data of World Health Organization (WHO), there are at present around the world more than 200 million girls and women who have undergone a FGM in those 30 countries of Africa, Middle East and Asia where this practise is concentrated, and it is considered as a human rights violation.
In these countries, at least 30 per cent of the female population are under the age of 15 and it is estimated that in 2020 alone more than 4 million girls are at risk of FGM.
The WHO states that FGM can cause acute pain, fever, genital tissues inflammation, severe haemorrhage, urinary problems, infections like tetanus, menstrual, vaginal and sexual problems, as well as psychological disorders. In the long term, it can also cause fertility problems, labour and delivery complications, and up to the baby’s death.