First Female Genital Mutilation Clinic Opens - the Local
Lead by a team of experts in gynaecological and pelvic surgery as well as psychiatrists, the Desert Flower Centre opened its doors to an anticipated 50 to 100 patients per year.
Also referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), the World Health Organisation (WHO), states that the ritual procedure is carried out every 11 seconds, to varying degrees. These include cutting off a woman’s clitoris, sewing together her vagina, or even sewing together the entire genital region.
Most common in parts of Africa, the WHO estimates that around 140 million girls and women have been subjugated to FGM. Around 50,000 of them live in Germany.
Even for women who live in western countries like Germany, a trip back to visit family in African countries sometimes ends in being circumcised. Richer families sometimes take their daughter to the hospital to have it performed, but often it will be done at home.
This can result in infection, incontinence and even fistulas - as the colon can be broken if the doctor is unskilled. Chronic pain and infertility are also possible consequences, as is an increased chance of a baby dying while it is being born - as their way out can be restricted due to badly healed scars and stitching.
It is these kinds of problems that will be treated at the clinic in Zehlendorf, south Berlin. The first few patients are already being seen to and three cases are being looked into, said Roland Scherer, head surgeon. Treatment will be paid for either by health insurance or, in the case of those without by the Desert Flower foundation.