Realizing this influence and opportunities offered by the annual August gathering of women, the National Orientation Agency,NOA with the Support from UNICEF embarked on campaign aimed at eradicating all forms of female genital mutilation in Imo state.
The State Director of NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha regretted that despite efforts to end the practice, many communities in the state still tampered with the female genitals.
He urged women to also support the campaign against open defecation, access ante natal care, use of insecticidal treated nets and go for routine immunization of babies to improve their well being.
“With the support of UNICEF, we decided to carry this sensitization to the women; we discussed the issue of building toilets to avoid the spread of disease, how to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and the abandonment of female genital mutilation which had become a very key issue in our society”.
The State Programme Officer, UNICEF Social mobilization and Technical Committee, Mrs. Violet Igwe stressed the need for exclusive breastfeeding, routine hand washing and use of oral rehydration solution as first aid to children with diarrhea.
“We are looking forward to better life for the children and for the women, the women in this community should be able to have better information on health issues and by extension, the community will be a better and healthy community”.
Women Leaders from two hundred and seventy communities in the state during the event, pledged their support to the ongoing fight against female genital mutilation and other unhealthy practices in their areas.
Other women who spoke with Radio Nigeria promised to join the crusade for healthy living.
“I myself, I was circumcised and I do teach people about it that they should press it hard so that the thing will be inside but today I will tell women that they should stop that”.
“It’s tradition, tradition is hard to break but we are trying to stop it”.
NgorOkpala, Ikeduru, Owerri west, Ehime Mbano, IhitteUboma, Orlu, Oguta and OhajiEgbema local government areas are identified by UNICEF as areas with prevalence of female genital mutilation in Imo state.